A Victorian man with Down syndrome has been overwhelmed after receiving letters from around the world when he was struggling to cope in self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.
Jonno Amos, from Ouyen near Mildura, was disappointed to find out that shortly after his 30th birthday he would have to stay at home, he suffers from a weak immune system and has had pneumonia several times.
When coronavirus started to make its way through the state, his family decided it was best if he moved in with his parents and older sister, Dee Amos.
“He had just celebrated his birthday with about 120 of his family and friends, so to go from that to suddenly being in the one spot, he has really struggled with that,” Ms Amos told Yahoo News Australia.
“Jono is such a social butterfly and everyone in our community knows him, he loves going to the supermarket, he loves going to the bakery for a hot chocolate and having a talk with people so that’s been the hardest part for him,” Ms Amos explained.
A few days into self isolation Ms Amos mentioned to a family friend that Jono had recently had a bad day, when he had found out the the close-knit family had to cancel their annual camping trip and he was starting to realise the limitations of being stuck at home.
“Our friend suggested setting up a Facebook event asking people to send letters and by the next night we had people from our community dropping things in the letterbox for him,” Ms Amos explained.
“The first night he got three letters and he woke up the next day and there was a few more, the next day he woke up to a delivery of fresh scones because a local lady knew that he loved to go to the bakery”.
About a week after the Facebook event had taken off more letters and packages started coming in from around Australia and other countries.
“He got 26 letters just today alone,” Ms Amos said on Friday.
“He’s pretty impressed with the amount of mail he’s gotten, he got one today from Perth and he knows you have to get on a plane to get there, he keeps telling me he’s a superstar,” Ms Amos said estimating that Jonno had received almost 100 letters, parcels and other gifts.
“The joy on his face when he goes to the letterbox every day and he finds whatever he happens to receive is just priceless, it brings a light to our long days, like most people are expressing now”.
Paying it forward
Ms Amos explained the letters and parcels give Jonno a way to occupy his day and he’s enjoying responding to his fan mail and paying it forward by sharing his days on Facebook.
“It keeps him going and we are also writing letters to an aged care facility that are in lockdown over here, anything to try and make people’s day, it doesn’t take much.
“It gives us something good every day in our lives and Facebook gives us the perfect opportunity to share his joy with other people,” Ms Amos said.
She hopes that by sharing Jonno’s story on Facebook it will encourage more people to reach out to others doing it tough in isolation.
“Isolation for us, we have company but there are so many people out there alone, so taking five minutes out of your day to write a letter to an elderly neighbour or someone with a disability in your community it brightens their day and to be completely honest it makes you feel good too.”
The resourceful Jonno even managed to keep up the family tradition of camping at Easter without breaking coronavirus restrictions by setting up a tent in his backyard.
If you would like to send Jonno a letter, the details can be found here.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.