Make-A-Wish Boy Asks for Stuffed Cows, Receives Entire Herd

Posted by Paige Cerulli
All images: Joanne Wirtjes via Today

Ryan loved the stuffed cow he received from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So strangers helped to give him a whole stuffed cow herd. 

Ryan Wirtjes is nine years old. He has a mitochondrial disorder which causes many different issues, including fluid buildup on the brain, bowel problems, and chronic pain. Ryan also loves cows, particularly stuffed cows. He received his first stuffed cow from the Make-A-Wish Foundation years ago, and his stuffed cow collection began.

The past year has been a difficult one for Ryan. There were many medical appointments, and Ryan's symptoms aren't at all easy to deal with, especially for a nine-year-old boy. So Ryan came up with the idea to ask people to mail him stuffed cows. And then he watched his herd of cows grow.


Ryan has received more than 100 stuffed cows of all different shapes and sizes. But he didn't just receive stuffed cows - he also received cow socks, slippers, blankets, and even T-shirts.

He's set about naming each cow and is trying to come up with a system to tag the cows so that he knows which is which.


The cows have been sent by people all over the country, and often come with inspiring notes. Senders encourage Ryan to keep fighting, or share their mutual love of cows. Ryan's even received invitations to visit cow farms to meet real cows in person.


Would you like to add to Ryan's herd? You can send stuffed cows to Ryan at the following address:

Ryan Wirtjes
3969 Meadowbrook Court
Sheboygan, WI 53081

All images: Joanne Wirtjes via Today

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Make-A-Wish Boy Asks for Stuffed Cows, Receives Entire Herd