Page 3 Profile: Manuel Parisseaux, birthday card recipient

 

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The Independent Online

Holding all the cards?

He’d be hard-pressed to manage that. Thousands of people from around the world have sent birthday greetings to Manuel Parisseaux in France after his mother asked the public to help him celebrate the day. Mr Parisseaux, who has Down’s syndrome, turned 30 at the weekend and was stunned to receive 30,000 birthday cards in the post.

That beats an e-card and a book token…

Sometimes the old-fashioned way is best. But the internet has its uses. Mr Parisseaux’s mother, Jacqueline, posted an appeal on Facebook at the start of November. “My son Manuel is going to turn 30 years old on November 22 and he loves to receive postcards,” the message read. “He has Down’s syndrome. I’m writing to ask you to take a couple of minutes to send him a little card and to pass this information on to your friends so the chain doesn’t get broken,” it continued. “I thank you all in advance for your gesture, which will make my Manu so happy.”

Surely nobody could have anticipated the response?

Following Mrs Parisseaux’s request, envelopes began by the truckload. When the family, who live in Calais, ran out of space in their home they had to use a neighbour’s garage to store them. Some 3,000 cards were delivered on Saturday alone - Mr Parisseaux’s birthday - along with cakes, gifts and children’s drawings from as far afield as Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and the US.

Why did the appeal resonate so strongly with the public?

“I don’t understand why it got so big. Manuel is like us, he is moved to tears,” an emotional Mrs Parisseaux said. “We would never have imagined the impact that a simple internet message could have in a few days,” she told the French newspaper La Voix du Nord. “We are surprised by this outpouring of generosity and messages of support and kindness. The world is not indifferent after all.”

Will the family be sending out a repeat request for Christmas?

They’ve got more than enough post to get through for the time being and are currently sorting through the mountains of birthday cards they received. Despite a shortage of space, they have promised to keep every one of them.

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