“Thank you all for taking the time to send a little bit of love our way. It is humbling.”
There is a line of cars in front of the Dobbs house in Hiram, Georgia. The driveway is full. Each one has a trunk full of boxes.
Five-year-old Lucy Dobbs grabs one that looks about as big has she is. “Oh, this is a heavy one,” she laughs.
She follows a row of grown-ups walking up to the house with their arms full of gifts.
“It is really incredible,” Jamie Dobbs says. “It is more than we ever imagined.”
There are more packages arriving than places to put them.
“Hospice Atlanta nurses and volunteers are brining over hundreds of packages every day,” Jamie shakes her head in wonder. “It is overwhelming; but it is a wonderful overwhelming.”
The Dobbs family will tell you the joy they feel about all the deliveries isn’t about how many boxes or even what is inside. The true gift is the spirit wrapped within each and every one.
“Every package we open we can feel the love radiate out of the package,” she says. “They are taking time out of their day to put a smile on my son’s face.”
All of that love is bringing out the best in 6-year-old Brantley’s days as he fights on against a brain tumor, called DIPG. Brantley still has the best smile, despite being so swollen from medication that cannot stop his cancer but helps keep him more comfortable.
He points to a pile of stuffed animals that are taking over his bed that is now in the living room. He needs round-the-clock care. “I like all of them!” he smiles. They are all gifts that have arrived in the last two weeks.
Christmas cheer and some new toys are a needed distraction and a lot of fun for Brantley and Lucy. They giggle as Lucy talks to her big brother through a bat man mask. “Hi Brantley, it’s your favorite little sister.”
The map in the dining room now has markers on nearly every state. From Hawaii to Alaska, California to Maine. People saw the first story about Brantley’s Christmas Cheer on 11Alive.com and started sending ornaments in care of Hospice Atlanta.
1244 Park Vista Dr.
Atlanta GA 30319
Attention: Brantley’s Christmas Cheer c/o Lanise
They’ve lost track of how many packages have arrived from cities all over Georgia. Brantley’s mom, Jamie asks him how many he things they have received. “Probably like 3,000” Brantley says!
The first time we spent time with Brantley, on November 15th, the Dobbs had three Christmas trees.
There are now nine.
“We feel like there are angels all around reassuring us,” Jamie says.
Brantley says he also gets reassurance from beyond; from God.
“He talks to me,” Brantley said, “He is a big white cloud.”
“He will tell you that God talks to him and he knows he is going to heaven,” Jamie said. “And he will tell you he is okay with that because of his conversations with God.
It is why every gesture, personal letter, each ornament is an offering of kindness and compassion.
“I can’t thank people enough for taking their time to send a little bit of love our way,” She says. “It is just so humbling.”
Jamie Dobbs leans down and covers her son’s face with kisses. Brantley smiles. For them, there is no gift more valuable than joy in the time spend together.
She whispers in his ear, “I love you.”
**The nurses at Hospice Atlanta are not only caring for Brantley and supporting his family, they are spending their own time helping sort and deliver all the packages arriving from all over the world.
If would like to volunteer to help them please call 404-215-6011. They would be grateful for the support.