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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The valentines just kept coming

Spencer Worden, who is developmentally delayed and lives with his parents, loves Valentine’s Day. So he decorates his basement bedroom for the holiday and his sister invited people on Facebook to send him Valentine’s Day cards. He ended up with more than 100 cards, shown Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

One of Spencer Worden’s favorite things to do is decorate for holidays. For Christmas – his favorite – he hangs colored streamers from the wall and places holiday-themed items around his room. But this year, Valentine’s Day may have become a new favorite.

Spencer has received more than 128 valentines from 39 states and three Canadian provinces over the past three weeks, and the cards continue to arrive, said Lamont Worden, Spencer’s father.

“We found our mail stacked at the front door. His room is just plastered with valentines everywhere,” Lamont Worden said. “His room is a real joy to see any time of the year. Now Valentine’s Day is going to take a huge jump on the scale because he is saving the cards for next year.”

Spencer was born with persistent fetal circulation. He spent six months in the hospital and lost a kidney at a month old due to complications with high blood pressure.

“We were told he would never walk or never talk, but he’s surprised everybody,” said Lamont Worden. “He’s been a joy to everybody. As soon as people meet him, they love him.”

Spencer has won more than 20 medals in the Special Olympics and participates in several groups, including the Spokane Valley Heroes Club – a parent-organized group for adults with special needs – which holds movie nights, dances and bingo parties.

The valentine card campaign was the brainchild of Spencer’s sister, Joy Abrams, who started a Facebook group earlier this year.

“I thought it might be neat if people wanted to send him a Valentine’s card,” Abrams said. “Because he’s not in school, he never really receives valentines anymore and I thought it would be really fun for him to get some cards. It definitely blew up more than I thought it would.”

A Canadian woman started a holiday card list just for Spencer and plans to send him a Canada Day card for Fourth of July. Many people who participated have commented on how the cards brighten their day amid all the chaos in the world, Abrams said.

Spencer received the most cards from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, and from even as far away as Nova Scotia.

“He got another 23 last night and they were all new states,” Lamont Worden said. “It took a week before we got our first state west of Colorado. I’m just blown away by the generosity. People are paying $10 just to mail Spencer stuff. They’re sending him candy and stickers. One lady sent a bunch of St. Patrick’s Day and Easter stuff.”

Abrams said she, too, is thankful.

“(Spencer) really enjoyed it. It’s the most memorable Valentine’s Day our family has ever had,” Abrams said. “It’s really inspiring.”