Nathan Norman is contagious – but it’s something no doctor would dare stop.
It’s his smile, which has already spread to thousands around the world.
"Everybody who meets him just smiles," said Bobby Norman, his father.
It’s a remarkable smile, given the pain that’s underneath.
"He doesn't see it as a hindrance. He sees it more as an opportunity to show people that you don't have to be sad," said his father, Bobby Norman.
Nathan was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009. A year ago, it progressed, and doctors found another tumor in his spinal cord. His family lives near Lynchburg, Va., and they are receiving treatment at Duke University.
"We asked him, 'If you could give your cancer away, would you?' He said, 'No. I wouldn't want anybody else to have it," his father said.
Despite treatments, his family got bad news two months ago in September.
"We found that the brain tumor was growing and the spinal cord tumor had actually popped back out," said his mother, Dawn.
Around that time, Nathan made a Christmas wish – wishing for, well, Christmas.
"That way when he's not feeling good, he can look at the lights," said his mother.
"I just like them because they make me feel better when I'm feeling bad," he said.
"Some people have said, 'Well, does that mean that y’all don't think he'll make it 'till Christmas?' No! We pray he makes many, many Christmases. None of us know."
Word spread, and Nathan started getting Christmas cards – and thousands of them – from all 50 states and 17 countries.
It’s clear he gets a kick out of receiving.
"On one of the cards it has a little bouncy ball eyeball," he said.
But the response also shows what others get out of making every day Christmas – like one little girl who was born deaf in one ear.
"She just really thought that God hated her because of the way that she was born, but then when she saw Nathan on the news, it restored her hope. It restored her faith,” the father said. “She said, 'You're such a blessing. I don't feel like God hates me anymore.’
Hope and faith are what the Norman family tries to live by each day.
"If you live every day as if you were dying, I mean this world could be such a great place, because you would do things so differently," Bobby Norman said.
If you want to send a card:
81 Dunivan Drive
1205 Front St., Raleigh
Can't find something?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.