Another day and another message request on Facebook from a total stranger has me in tears. It simply read ‘your straws have been posted today.’ 

Straws. Who thought a simple plastic straw could have me crying? 

So back to the beginning. I had been on holiday with both my children in a caravan and just arrived home. My daughter asked me for a drink and since her twin brother can’t speak so I made him one too...and that’s when I realised I had accidentally left the straws at the caravan! I had just two left so made the children a drink then left them with their dad while I went to buy some more. 

You see my ten year old son can’t yet drink without a simple plastic straw. Believe me I have tried everything but he is severely autistic, and non-verbal with severe learning difficulties. He is blind in one eye and has a tumour in the other. He has difficulties holding things and we have since discovered he has a growing brain tumour and will need brain surgery. The humble plastic straw is a lifeline to him. 

Yet plastic straws are increasingly hard to find. I tried the three local supermarkets near me, every single one now only sells paper straws which are no use to my son. He chews and chokes on them and they dissolve and taste awful. I tried local stores, discount stores and party suppliers. Finally, I called in at a national discount store and asked if they had any. By this point I was tired, stressed and getting anxious about how my son would be able to drink. I explained my situation to a shop assistant who immediately looked in a store cupboard and even asked her manager if any other stores could help me. The manager rang another local store who had some and asked them to put them aside for me. I was able to drive the six miles and pick them up. I drove home with wet eyes but a grateful heart. 

The next morning I realised I hadn’t properly thanked the shop assistant so I found a local town news page on Facebook and wrote a simple post to thank the nameless lady why showed me kindness. I just wanted her to know how grateful I was and what her actions meant to me. I also wanted to let others know that the world is full of kind people. What I didn’t expect was the catalyst effect that post would have! 

Over 1,000 people reacted to that post and people throughout my home town offered me their plastic straws. People offered to post them, bring them to my house and local businesses donated boxes of straws to my son. It was overwhelming and so appreciated. The local press picked up on the story and from there so did the national press. That has resulted in the message I had today from another stranger. 

During the last few weeks my son has become increasingly ill. When I asked for straws it was because his autism, delay and learning difficulties meant he could not drink any other way. Sadly, medical difficulties now add to the reasons why we need plastic straws as my son struggles with complications of a growing brain tumour and up and coming invasive brain surgery and potentially further treatment for his tumour. 

Every single stranger who has sent me, brought me, or offered me plastic straws is helping more than they may ever know. 

The kindness of strangers has helped us get through a very difficult time and enabled Isaac to be able to drink independently. Strangers showed me that people care and want to help. They have shown me that love can make things better and a little kindness goes a long, long way. 

I can’t say thank you enough.

Read more blogs by Miriam over at FaithMummy, or read more Family Fund Bloggers here.