A 19-year-old Alberta boy with autism has won support and attention from all over the world after losing 75 pounds (approx. 34 kg) in a surprising way: by checking the mail every day.
Young Carson Swazey has autism and is nonverbal. Several months ago, his family helped him start on a weight-loss journey that included a keto diet and indoor exercise regimen. But one of the activities that motivated him the most was walking to the mailbox on a daily basis.
However, when the mail slowed down earlier this year, Carson began to lose motivation.
Earlier this year, Carson had gained some attention for a fundraiser he spearheaded. So Carson’s mother, Amanda Kinney, took to social media, hoping that some of her followers would send him mail.
What she didn’t expect was that her post would quickly go viral, resulting in an outpouring of international support for her son.
“It was so surprising,” Amanda told Global News. “People are kind and people are generous.”
Some people even wrote to Carson with their personal stories. Letters of congratulations also arrived, and the teen regained his motivation.
Carson’s journey has inspired people across the internet, including the Chinook Autism Society vice president, Brandon Rudics.
Rudics says that the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on individuals with autism.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of regression, them not wanting to leave their rooms, stuff like that,” he said. “So to hear a story like this, where he’s getting out more, and getting healthy [at] the same time, it’s amazing.”
Amanda says Carson isn’t particular about what’s inside the mail; it’s the act of collecting and opening it that brings him the most joy.
In an Instagram post on Nov. 7, 2020, Amanda thanked everyone who’s taken the time to write to her son.
“For me,” she wrote, “this has turned into something much bigger than just him receiving mail. This is about the compassion of strangers who are embracing my son with love and respect.”
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org