Autistic teenager to write cards in bid to thank as many NHS staff as possible

Patrick Joyce wants nurses and doctors to ‘know that he supports them and appreciates them’.

Autistic teenager to write cards in bid to thank as many NHS staff as possible

An autistic teenager is asking for the names and hospital addresses of NHS workers so he can send them a thank-you card.

Patrick Joyce, 16, from Glasgow, wants to thank nurses and doctors for their efforts to help Covid-19 patients, and his mother said writing the cards will ease his anxiety about the pandemic.

Indra Joyce is Patrick’s full-time carer after his father died in 2014, when he was 10.

Ms Joyce told the PA news agency: “He wants to write to as many people as he can.

Patrick is a die-hard Everton fan (@Indra68/Twitter/PA)

“The cost of a stamp is peanuts compared to the benefits it will bring both to my son and to the letters’ recipients.”

After a traumatic birth, Patrick was diagnosed with various cognitive disabilities, including global developmental delay (GDD) and autism.

“Patrick is 16, but due to GDD he is more like a seven to eight-year-old,” Ms Joyce said.

“But throughout all his struggles and difficulties, he has always been sweet-natured, and he gets upset when people are sad and wants to hug them to make it better.

“This has made lockdown especially hard, as he is over-social… everyone is his friend.

Coronavirus – Mon Jan 11, 2021
Patrick wants to give thanks to those working on the front line of the pandemic (Yui Mok/PA)

“After the umpteenth time of telling me how sad he was for the doctors and nurses who were caring for all the people who were dying, I suggested he write to tell them, to help them feel better.”

Ms Joyce said Patrick, also known as Paddy, “wanted to write to everyone” and asked her to post to her Twitter account, @Indra68, to request NHS workers’ names and hospital addresses.

Since posting the tweet on Wednesday, Ms Joyce said she has had many responses already, and an “overjoyed” Patrick plans to start writing the cards on Thursday.

A number of NHS workers replied publicly to Ms Joyce’s post, with one nurse saying “it would make our day” for her hospital’s ICU staff to receive a card.

Ms Joyce said Patrick, a passionate Everton Football Club fan, will write a few each day so he does not tire.

She added that Patrick loved the Thursday Clap For Carers which took place during lockdown, and drew a rainbow for their window.

Indra Joyce with the family’s dog, a 12-year-old Japanese Spitz named Charlie (@Indra68/Twitter/PA)

“Anything that can ease his anxiety and make him happy makes me happy,” she added.

If you would like to share the name and address of a health worker so Patrick can send them a card, you can send Ms Joyce a direct message via Twitter with her handle @Indra68.

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