Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)

Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Talking about his 9th birthday, Damien Smith is a boy of few words, but all of them are filled with joy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020, marked a most memorable birthday for the young Canoe resident who, thanks to his mother Tiffanie Trudell and father Thomas Smith, was able to celebrate with the knowledge that many others were celebrating with him.

“I’ve been in tears almost this whole time so I’m exhausted from crying,” said Trudell, whose tears of joy began falling on Saturday when she and Thomas revealed to their son the results of “Damien’s Birthday Project.”

The project began in October, approximately two weeks after the family moved to the area, with a public post on Facebook. In it, Thomas and Trudell explained Damien’s birthday was coming up and how, when asked if he was excited about it, the eight-year-old replied, “No, I’m just going to be lonely.”

To remedy this, and the fact that a birthday party was looking unlikely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the heartbroken parents asked if anyone would be interested in sending their son birthday cards in the mail.

Those broken hearts were quickly filled with happiness as people from all over the world began responding to their post. Soon, Thomas and Trudell were making clandestine trips to the post office, gathering bundles of envelopes and parcels addressed to their son while trying not to spoil the surprise.

And then came the message from Canadian celebrity and Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds. With Damien being a big fan of Reynold’s “merc with the a mouth,” friends of the family helped bring Thomas and Trudell’s post to Reynolds’ attention.

Trudell said it was at dinner time when she received a text from Reynolds and learned he’d be sending her son a special video message. She and Thomas finally got to share that video with Damien over the weekend.

“Frozen,” is how Damien said he felt while watching as Reynolds spoke directly to him.

Trudell, who has been brought to tears on more than one occasion by Reynolds’ involvement, said she expected his video message might be more humorous and light. While some of that is there, it is also personal, emotional and supportive.

Read more: Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Read more: ‘I’m just going to be lonely’: Shuswap family asks for help celebrating son’s birthday

“It was the most perfect video I could have ever expected,” said Trudell. “It’s easy to joke and be like, ‘ha ha happy birthday,’ but to really pull himself down from his stardom and be like, ‘I have been where you are,’ that was a really beautiful thing that he did for my son – To take the time out of his day just to say, ‘Hey, you’re just like me.’”

On the Deadpool theme, Damien also received a Deadpool birthday cake by Amanda Gage of Cake Creations. The Shuswap chapter of Bikers are Buddies, whose members took part in a community birthday parade that drove past Damien’s home over the weekend, also gave him a Leap Pad which, along with the cards, are to help Damien with his reading.

Tiffanie and Thomas have been reading the cards, received from Ireland, Russia, Mexico, Scotland, the U.S. and, of course, Canada, together with Damien. They also plan on sending out thank-you cards.

Back home from school on his birthday, Damien had only one word to describe the celebrations so far: “Nuts!”

Trudell and Thomas are relieved they no longer have to keep Damien’s Birthday Project a secret, and grateful for everyone who has contributed to the experience.

“Seeing Damien’s face makes me feel like I’ve done a good job as a mom…,” said Trudell.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Langley and other communities should be concerned about credit union’s direction

Member read the fine print and does not like the proposed changes

Langley MLAs Andrew Mercier and Megan Dykeman. (Black Press Media files)
Langley MLAs announce multiculturalism grants intended to help fight racism

Priority was given to projects addressing anti-Indigenous, anti-Asian and anti-Black racism

Jaden Lipinski has signed to the Langley-based Vancouver Giants, and is expected to start next season. (Lipinski Family/Special to Black Press Media)
Arizona forward joins Vancouver Giants ranks

A young scorer out of Scottsdale was signed to start playing in the 2021-22 season

Langley Township is planning to construct a multi-use arts and cultural centre in Fort Langley. (Langley Township graphic)
Wanna buy a piece of Langley history? Museum naming rights up for grabs

Township opens up sponsorship for new Salishan Place by the River history, arts and culture centre

Vancouver Giants goalie Trent Miner saw his lengthy shutout streak in the net come to an end in a 6-3 loss against Prince George on Saturday, April 10. (Allen Douglas/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Giants winning streak snapped by Prince George Cougars in 6-3 loss

The game also marked the end of a franchise-record shutout streak by goalie Trent Miner

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read