SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Garfield MacLean starts his day reading the mail.
For him, it’s the best part of his days spent in the Prince County Hospital Intensive Care Unit.
“He’s the eternal optimist. He’s stayed so positive all this time. I think the cards he has received have really helped,” said Lori MacLean, Garfield’s wife.
A few months ago, Lori issued a plea on Facebook asking Islanders, family and friends to send cards to Garfield during his stay in the hospital.
Since then, they have received over 500 cards from senders in all the provinces and one territory, about 20 or 25 states and covering five continents.
“It has reaffirmed my faith in human nature. This has made me even more positive,” said Garfield.
He has also received tweets from celebrities like Tom Arnold, Valerie Bertinelli, Carnie Wilson, Robert Patrick, Orlando Jones, Robert Irvine and the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler.
“He’s a big ‘Happy Days’ fan so that was pretty cool. We both grew up watching that show,” said Lori with a laugh.
Garfield added, “It was shocking and a little humbling that someone took time to cheer a total stranger up.”
Actor Thomas Lennon, who played in “Reno 911” and a remake of “The Odd Couple”, replied to Lori’s tweet saying, “he was on it”. A few days later, Garfield received a letter and drawing from Lennon.
“Every day it’s like ‘how cool is this?’… You never know what you’re going to get,” said Lori.
Now, with the Christmas season here, Garfield would like to receive Christmas cards, to bring the sprit alive in his hospital room.
“It’s been a few rough Christmases and we’re going to be here this year. So it’d be nice to get some seasonal cards to add some cheer.”
Garfield says the outpouring of support has confirmed his belief in people.
“I’ve learned a large number of people will go out of their way to cheer up a stranger, which is pretty awesome.”
It’s hard to quantify how they help, he added.
There is no set date for Garfield’s discharge. There is criteria he must meet, like being able to swallow, go 12 hours during the day without a ventilator, eat without a feeding tube and build up his upper body strength in order to complete day-to-day activities.
“It almost certainly won’t be 2017,” said Garfield.
Lori added with a chuckle, “Clearly he hasn’t lost his sense of humour.”
Sending letters and cards
Here’s the address to send cards to Garfield:
PO Box 12,