Your Good Deed Today: The Simple Act That Can Help a Really Sick Child

It takes five minutes and 50 cents.

Staff Writer Nicole Pasulka has written for Mother Jones, BuzzFeed, The Believer, and New York Observer. She lives in New York City.

This is Ali.
She’s nine years old.

(Photo: Facebook)

She loves Disney princesses.

(Photo: The Letters Project)

A lot.

(Photo: Facebook)

She has a rare disease called neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation, a genetic disorder that causes iron to build up in the brain. This leads to degeneration in Ali's nervous system. There is no known cure for NBIA. 

(Photo: The Letters Project)

This disease appears during childhood. Ali started having symptoms a year ago, and the illness has progressed quickly.

She feels tired and is often in pain. Within a year, she went from walking to needing a wheelchair most of the time. 

On Sept. 9, Ali will turn 10.

She and her family have made a simple birthday request over the Internet: Send cards!

(Photo: Facebook)

Her story aired on local news station KDFM on Aug. 7, and was picked up by the website The Letters Project and a thread on Reddit. Since then people across the country have been sending Ali cards, letters, boxes, and presents.

And yes, many of them have pictures of Disney princesses on them. 

(Photo: Facebook)

So far, Ali has received cards from Texas, California, Indiana, Oregon, Nevada, Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Canada. 

This isn’t the first time Reddit has come through with letters, gifts, and support for a child fighting an incurable illness. In July, a six-year-old boy with brain cancer received more than 100,000 cards when his story reached the website’s members.

Ali’s family is also raising money to update their house so it will be more accessible for her. They’ve raised around $3,000. 

(Photo: Facebook)

If you want to send Ali birthday cards, here’s the address:

P.O. Box 2586
Jasper, TX 75951

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