Locals start Christmas card drive for child awaiting transplant

Published 1:46 am Friday, December 7, 2018

Red Level local Randy Hildreth was so moved by Blaklee Tew’s story that he started a Christmas card drive for him in hopes the mail would brighten his holidays.

Tew, son of Matthew and Amanda Tew of Andalusia, has spent the last year in the hospital. He was born with Hirschsprung Disease, a birth defect in which the nerve cells are missing at the end of the his bowel. Because the nerve cells are missing, the digestive system does not function properly, causing a number of side effects and increasing the likelihood of developing a life threating intestinal infection. Only eight centimeters of Tew’s intestine are working. He is at the top of the bowel transplant list and is currently waiting on a transplant, but because of his condition, he has to stay in the hospital until the transplant can happen.

“I have been following Blaklee’s story for about a year now,” Hildreth said. “I just felt a burden on my heart that I needed to help him and his family and that is why I started this.”

So far, Tew has been receiving cards and Hildreth said that Tew is always very excited when he gets them.

“Someone posted a video of him going to get the cards and he opens them up and then starts jumping on the bed,” Hildreth said. “He gets so excited when he sees the cards.”

Hildreth said that he got the idea when he was reading one of Tew’s grandmother’s posts on Facebook.

“She posted a story about how he had gotten a few cards for Halloween,” Hildreth said. “But then when they stopped coming, he asked why he wasn’t getting them anymore. So they went out and bought a toy mailbox for him and set it outside his room. Now he can check if there are any cards in there everyday.”

Hildreth feels children like Tew are usually left out of fundraisers.

“I’m doing this for Blaklee is because I feel he has been overlooked by our community when it comes to fundraisers,” Hildreth said. “He doesn’t have cancer like most of the kids that the community fundraises for, but his condition is bad and is life threatening.”

Hildreth hopes that with each card, people will put a little monetary donation.

“I’m just hoping people will put a small donation in their card,” Hildreth said. “Just to help the family and to provide them a means of providing a good Christmas for Blaklee.”

Last week, Hildreth tried to raise money for Tew by selling pecans and was able to raise $1,100.

“We only had a few pounds of pecans,” Hildreth said. “But we actually ended up selling 85 pounds of pecans and raising $1,100 for Blaklee.”

Hildreth said that any monetary donation will help.

“I know that the financial burden on this family has to be so hard,” Hildreth said. “They are having to stay in the hospital all of the time just in case they get the transplant, so my main thing is to try and encourage donations.”

For anyone interested in sending a card to Blaklee, this is the address:

Blaklee Tew

9th Floor Harbert Rm 942

Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children

1600 7th Avenue South

Birmingham, AL 35233