A California letter carrier made a dream come true for a young cancer survivor who is also a Postal Service enthusiast.
A few days before Christmas, Levan “Van” Singletary was delivering mail when he was approached by a customer, Jamie Hayward, who told him her son, Jacob, wanted one thing for his upcoming seventh birthday: to tour the local Post Office.
Jacob is recovering from Wilms tumor, a type of childhood cancer that starts in the kidneys.
Diagnosed at 5 years old, the stage 4 cancer had spread to Jacob’s lung. He endured many hours of chemotherapy and radiation and recently had a bone marrow transplant.
“Jacob has always loved everything about the Post Office, mailboxes and mail,” Jamie said, adding that when her son was going through chemotherapy, it brought him comfort to wear his mail carrier costume.
One day after receiving Jamie’s request, Singletary arranged a tour of the Laguna Niguel, CA, Post Office for Jacob, his 5-year-old sister, Ava, and their parents.
Singletary showed the Haywards how he prepares to deliver the mail and even allowed Jacob to try on his satchel.
Postmaster Lam Le then invited Jacob and Ava into her office to write letters to Santa Claus.
Jacob and Ava’s dad, Jared, said he was “blown away” by the Laguna Niguel postal employees, who created “a beautiful experience” for his children.
But the story doesn’t end there.
In late January, with the holiday rush over, Singletary and several of his postal colleagues made a special delivery to the Haywards’ home, where Jacob was named an honorary letter carrier and given a USPS-licensed ride-on toy.
The presentation received widespread news coverage.
Jacob, who has been declared cancer-free by his doctors, is now enjoying his status as an honorary carrier and also getting to attend school in person with his sister.
Singletary is happy that he and his colleagues helped lift Jacob’s spirits.
“We’re forever connected,” Singletary said. And while Jacob has already received lifesaving bone marrow, Singletary is now on the registry to donate.
“We thought what Van did was above and beyond — he’s superhuman,” Jared said. “He wears a postal uniform, but it might as well be a superhero cape. Our family reached out and he delivered from the bottom of his heart.”
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