Health Class Students Make Cards for Six-Year-Old

Six year-old Connor Sawtelle of Augusta sits with some of the cards of encouragement people have sent. Connor has received over 1,000 cards, according to his mother, Erika Sawtelle. “I am so thankful for our community and everyone who has sent a card,” she said. “We are slowly working our way through the huge pile. But I cherish every card sent!”

Erika Sawtelle

Six year-old Connor Sawtelle of Augusta sits with some of the cards of encouragement people have sent. Connor has received over 1,000 cards, according to his mother, Erika Sawtelle. “I am so thankful for our community and everyone who has sent a card,” she said. “We are slowly working our way through the huge pile. But I cherish every card sent!”

Carly Guerrette, Staff Writer

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Mr. Malenfant’s health class was a little different on Monday, February 10. Rather than textbooks and class discussion, it involved art supplies.  All of Malenfant’s classes made cards for Connor Sawtelle, a 6-year-old Augusta native who’s recently been in the news. He has a terminal illness called Chiari malformation, meaning his skull is too small which then pushes in on to the brain causing it to descend into the spinal column so fluid stops going to the brain. Connor and his family have asked for one thing via social media: cards. “Connor loves cards. Enjoys to hear each message sent,” said Connor’s mom Erika Sawtelle.  

“When I saw the Facebook post by Erika Sawtelle, I was moved by her request to send cards to her son Connor,” said health teacher Kevin Malenfant. “In her post, she mentioned that cards were a huge joy to her son.” In Malenfant’s health classes they discussed why mental health matters. “We all agreed that we needed to create some cards for Connor,” said Malenfant. “I looked at this situation as an opportunity to impact other individuals in a time of need,” he said.  About 60 cards were sent to Connor and his family.

For Malenfant, this also hit close to home.  “This situation caught my attention because my daughter suffers from the same condition. We are often responsive when individuals going through challenging times reach out; it is our responsibility as a caring society to support one another when opportunities arise,” Malenfant said.

“Making cards for this sweet little boy makes my heart very happy but also sad at the same time,” said Alexa Perkins ‘22. “The situation with the Sawtelle family is sad, but I am glad that I can help out my making a card,” she said.

Freshman Gage Hammond-Smart said, “I really enjoyed making a card for Connor. It does not feel like much, but a simple card could make his day and boost his confidence.”

“Making cards for people that are sick is such a fun thing to do also it helps make the sick person feel better which all around makes me want to make more for other people,” said Libby Kinney ‘22.

Malenfant’s lessons changed quickly from what he had originally planned to teach on that Monday, but he feels the students’ working on cards still had value.

“Spending a little time and effort trying to alter a depressing, stressful, and anxious situation in a positive way is nothing compared to living with the challenges the Sawtelle family faces on a daily basis with no end in sight,” said Malenfant.

If you would like to send a card to Connor or his family you may mail it to:

Connor Sawtelle

16 Cathy Street

Augusta, Maine  04330