Mona Helgeland was sad for her children. Their birthdays are coming up, but they are self-quarantined because of the coronavirus and going to miss celebrating with friends and family.
So Helgeland, a Norwegian single mother of two, went on Facebook groups and asked people to post greeting cards. She said she had been “blown away by the kindness.” In just a few days since that first post, she has received dozens of cards from across the world – from Alaska to South Africa.
“It’s beautiful. I started crying,” Helgeland, 37, said about the cards that some have posted with drawings of her son’s favorite Japanese cartoon characters, or cows, zebras and hearts, as well as photos from the studio where they make the Harry Potter movies that her children love.
To Helgeland, who has a painful spinal joint disorder called ankylosing spondylitis, the message during these uncertain times is clear: “It’s important to stay positive and take care of each other and spread love, not just the virus.”
Amid the grim news Helgeland has seen goodness, one card at a time.
“They’re making the effort, going out of their way for someone they don’t even know,” Helgeland said in an interview via videoconferencing. “I’m blown away by their kindness.”
Helgeland lives with her family in Ålgård, about 300 miles southwest of the Norwegian capital of Oslo. She had been planning for the birthdays of her children: Kristine, who will turn 17 on March 26, and Vetle, who will be 14 on April 6. Instead, the three of them are isolated at home.