Sheboygan boy battling rare disorder receives herd of cows after request goes viral

SHEBOYGAN -- A nine-year-old Sheboygan boy is jumping over the moon after receiving nearly 300 cows from people all over the country.

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes loves cows. His favorite is a stuffed cow named "Cathy" that was given to him by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cathy was given to Ryan because he also battles a rare mitochondrial disorder.

"It's caused him to have cyclical vomiting. So he will vomit for hours on end. He has osteioidpenia, so his bones aren't very strong. He's got hydrocephalus so he has a shunt to drain the extra fluid from his brain," said Joanne Wirtjes, Ryan's mom.

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan has dealt with the pain since birth, and the only thing that seems to calm him are his cows.

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

"This is the most famous cow," said Ryan while showing off another stuffed cow sent to him.

After a difficult year filled with hospital visits, this Christmas his mom asked friends and family to send cows for Ryan. The message was shared on Facebook and through the power of social media the cows came home!

"The second day we got 40 boxes and it comes from all over the United States and Canada," said Bill Wirtjes, Ryan's dad.

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

Which is hard for Ryan to grasp.

"How many stickers(stamps) did they need just to ship it to Sheboygan?" Ryan said.

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

From stuffed cows, inflatable cows, Ryan was in cow heaven and his parents were amazed.

"I truly thought if I got 10-15 cows I'd get thrilled -- and I lost count at 200," said Ryan.

With each cow comes a friendly note.

"Hi Ryan, hello from Connecticut," a letter reads. "You are so brave. Our prayers are with you little man. Happy Mooo Year."

Ryan has received so many cows, he wants to spread the love by donating them to Make-A-Wish and Ronald McDonald House.

Ryan Wirtjes

Ryan Wirtjes

If you'd like to donate a cow, you can send them to the following address:

Ryan Wirtjes
3969 Meadowbrook Court
Sheboygan, WI 53081