Sisters start worldwide campaign to give autistic brother a very happy birthday

Once Rachel and Lucy realized James had no plans for his 21st birthday, they decided to reach out. What started as a Facebook post asking for birthday cards for James has exploded into a campaign that’s reached not only the rest of the UK but the US, Australia, Mexico and beyond. (Courtesy/Rachel and Lucy)

To most, the ripe age of 21 is associated with legal drinking. It’s the birthday you round up your friends and family and head to a bar, casino or nightclub for a night you possibly won’t remember.

For James Weir and his sisters, Rachel and Lucy, from Bolton, England, 21 represents a lot more than that. James has autism, making it very difficult for him to socialize.

“James finds it hard to go out and doesn’t socialize with anyone apart from family,” Rachel said in an email.

Once Rachel and Lucy realized James had no plans for his 21st birthday, they decided to reach out. What started as a Facebook post asking for birthday cards for James has exploded into a campaign that’s reached not only the rest of the UK but the US, Australia, Mexico and beyond.

While James’ birthday isn’t until Nov. 30, he’s already received three thousand cards, six thousand emails, gifts and Facebook messages from complete strangers, just hoping to make his birthday a special one. Rachel called the response “amazing.”

“He dreams of one day having a wife and a family but it’s hard when he has a non-existing social life,” Rachel said. She added that going to college is tough for James and he typically spends days locked in his bedroom.

Yet Rachel said she always finds joy from James.

“James always manages to make me laugh,” Rachel said. “He has a very mischievous side and is known to try and play pranks when and where he can.”

Rachel said a few of James’ favorite things are Legos, dinosaurs, America and the Titanic.

Rachel said her goal through the birthday card project is to find James a friend.

“He’s never had a friend before. He almost feels invisible and no one knows him.” Rachel said. “His dream has always been to go viral so he’ll be over the moon when he realized he’s done just that! All from one Facebook post!”

You can keep up with James’ birthday journey on Facebook.

Birthday cards for James can be sent to:

Waring and Co

Churchgate house 

Churchgate 

Bolton 

BL1 1HL


Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.