PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A 9-year-old Pittsfield boy has received hundreds of letters after requesting them from every U.S. state while undergoing treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Carter was battling a form of cancer called ALAL (Acute Leukemia of Ambiguous Lineage). He was diagnosed in 2021 and recently had his second bone marrow transplant. He was dispatched from the hospital on Friday.

During his time in the hospital, Strong Little Souls, Inc. a non-profit organization created to assist families affected by childhood cancer, posted on social media to help Carter receive mail from every state. Founder of Strong Little Souls, Madison Quinn adds that Carter began to have an understanding of where the letters came from and far people were falling his story from.

“It’s the least I can do the way I think of it. Carter and every kid that has been diagnosed with cancer have been through so much, more than any child should ever have to go through,” said Quinn. “So, if I can spend just a couple of hours a day on social media, contacting some people and getting some letters that will make their day, I mean it’s very rewarding to see how something impactful as small as sending a letter to a child can be.”

Carter keeps track of each letter by coloring in the state it came from on a map. He is now only 7 states away. “It had quickly proven that he is going to likely hit every state very shortly, so we then kind of took it one step further and kinda want to see if he can do every country and get mail from all over the world,” said Quinn.

22News spoke with Carter about what it means to see everyone supporting his vision.

“It makes me feel very special”

Carter LaCasse

His mother, Crystal Czerno shares where the inspiration came from for an idea like this to pop up. “It was an idea given by someone else so I talked to Carter about it and when he seemed excited I thought it would be a good way to give him something to look forward to and help him smile,” Crystal said. “I got him a binder and printed out a map and organized the binder by states alphabetically so he could keep track.”

Carter shared with us what messages he has been receiving in the letters. ” I got some from other people and kids who have cancer too so those are extra special,” Carter said. “People tell me I am brave and strong.”

Credit: Crystal Czerno

Czerno adds, “I already know we are very blessed to be so loved and supported by our community, but seeing strangers from all over the country sending such genuine messages.” She continues to state how the thoughtful letters and gifts have reminded her of how much good there is in this world. “It is really easy to get lost in the bad that there is and that we hear so much about, but people are good, there are many really amazing people everywhere in our country, and there is much better than we give people credit for. This has been a very moving and humbling experience.”

Each time Carter opens a letter, he says it brings a smile to his face and fills him up with happiness. Telling 22News that he now feels like a celebrity as more people get to know him and recognize him.

In the eyes of his mother, he is an ‘old soul.’ “He is a very grateful boy who gets excited and is appreciative of even the smallest things. Carter cares so much about the people around him. Being in the hospital with other kids who were sick many times led to tears behind closed doors because he was upset for them. He is strong-willed and determined,” said Czerno. “Carter is an inspiration.”

Carter says once he is done filling up the US map, he will want to do France or Italy next.