Jomari Bradley was feeling down as he underwent treatment for a brain tumor — then he got Christmas cards from hundreds of strangers

By Char Adams
December 13, 2018 05:40 PM
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Credit: Doneshia Lee

Six-year-old Jomari Bradley, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been feeling down this year as he’s undergone treatment for brain cancer, but hundreds of Christmas cards from strangers have lifted the boy’s spirits.

Bradley, who has anaplastic ependymoma, didn’t know that his uncle, Waffers Brown, planned to write a Facebook post asking the public to send the little boy Christmas cards.

“He’s been going through a lot this past year. It’s been pretty rough. He’s gone through surgery and radiation,” Bradley’s mother, Doneshia Lee, 30, tells PEOPLE. “He couldn’t go to school, there were many different hospital visits. So [Brown] was just trying to cheer him up.”

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Jomari Bradley
| Credit: Doneshia Lee

News of the Facebook post quickly spread across the Internet, and Lee says Bradley’s first letter arrived on Dec. 3.

“We opened the card together. He got a little gift that came with it,” Lee recalls. “He was happy about that. Then the next day we got like 17 cards, then the day after that we got like 300 cards! Every day since then it’s been about 250 to 300 cards.”

Lee says that cards for her son have come from as far as Australia.

“He was shocked. He was surprised in a good way because he wasn’t expecting it. He was happy about it. Every day I got to the mailbox he asks, ‘Did I get any mail today?’ ” Lee tells PEOPLE. “I was super happy and super excited I felt the love and support. There are really good people out here that support him. It amazes me.”

Lee has shared photos of piles of cards for Bradley on the boy’s Facebook page, Prayers for Jomari Bradley. The cards have proved to be the perfect pick-me-up for the little boy, who was diagnosed with the illness in August 2017.

“I was scared and worried,” Lee says of the diagnosis. “I did a lot of crying because I wouldn’t think that my child would have cancer. He was okay two weeks before he was diagnosed. They found a tumor on his brain stem.”

Since the diagnosis, Bradley has undergone two brain surgeries, two more surgeries to reduce pressure on his brain, and radiation treatments. He is deaf in one ear and is in physical and speech therapy.

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Lee says doctors are doing all they can to save Bradley, but she does not know what the future holds.

“It’s been pretty rough to see him not be a normal kid, a normal 6-year-old that just wants to go to school and play with his friends,” she says. “The future is a big question mark. I don’t know how long he will be here.”

In the midst of the uncertainty, and the many doctors’ visits, Lee says Bradley’s cards are helping him through his hard time.

“It lifted his spirits,” Lee says of the cards. “I see his smile when he opens a card. His smile lights up a room. It lights up my spirit too because he’s so intrigued by the different cards he’s getting. When I see that smile on his face it makes me happy.”