Tigard mom asks community to spread the love (and some mail) to her young son

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A spoonful of sugar signed, sealed, and delivered the old-fashioned snail mail way, is making the pain of surgery go down in the most delightful – or at least a bit more tolerable – way for 8-year-old Nathaniel Sprague.

So, his mom, Elizabeth Sprague, has a request: “If anyone (or anyone’s kids) would be willing to send a picture or a card, it would really keep his spirits up,” she wrote in a post on Nextdoor.

Nathaniel, who is autistic and has sensory issues around food, recently had the first of two surgeries to create a port and place a feeding tube called a PEG tube directly into his stomach.

“This will help his body get the nutrients it needs while he continues to work on trying new foods,” Elizabeth said. Because the tube links directly to his stomach, bypassing the upper digestive system, he’s still able to eat.

Nathaniel was unable to get the nutrition and calories his body needed, leaving his reserves dangerously depleted and his weight stagnant. He was gaining height but not heft.

Surgeons at Providence St. Vincent Hospital Portland placed the port, which currently has a large, syringe-like tube attached, during a one-hour procedure in early September. Later this fall, he’ll return to swap out the tube for a smaller, more permanent mechanism in a second surgery.

Though the pain was initially so intense that Nathaniel wasn’t sure he could endure it, his recovery has been smooth, and his spirits are rising.

“He has been so brave,” Elizabeth wrote. “If we could get some encouragement that the hard parts will pass, we would be so grateful.”

Nathaniel loves mail – postcards, drawings from other kids, well wishes, whatever. If the drawings include the solar system, Minecraft or ROBLOX characters, even better.

Opening old-fashioned, stamped in the corner, delivered to his house sentiments is easing the post-op pain, Elizabeth says, and it’s a joy to witness.

“He’s always really fun to watch because he takes his time opening them,” she said. “He loves that somebody was thinking of him. That just makes him feel special.” 

Address cards, encouragement, drawings, and well-wishes to: 

Nathaniel Sprague
11650 SW Ann St.
Tigard, OR  97223

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