FOXBORO - "Fear not, for I am with you," wrote Sierra Moore, citing Isaiah 41:10 on the handmade card she sent to Danny Nickerson from Austin, Texas.

Joan Ernst, from New Mexico, sent a Native American dreamcatcher - a webbed loop of dangling feathers, believed to keep the sleeping soul at peace.

"You hang it by your bed and it (filters out) your bad dreams," said Danny's grandmother, Signe Murphy, who has joined her husband, George Murphy, and other relatives in helping Danny open some of the 220,000 pieces of mail he has received in less than 10 days.

Whether from the Old Testament or the Old West, from Super Mario or Superman, Danny's family has embraced the power - one note at a time.

At the center of the mail and media whirlwind, Danny Nickerson - who turned 6 last Friday - and his family keep their moments of peace, and dwell in quiet appreciation, said George Murphy, 60, a jazz trombonist and recently retired Foxboro music teacher.

"We're not just ripping and throwing," he said. "We're sharing. We're crying and laughing. We want to give each piece its due. We're so respectful of what's going on."

On Tuesday night, three of Danny's grandparents - George, Signe and Phillip Jamieson - sat on the Murphys' wrap-around porch in Foxboro, shiny confetti falling from cards they opened.

They were joined by Doye Karling, Danny's 87-year-old great-grandmother.

She said it would take a year to open all the mail.

That would not be bad, said Murphy, who - despite Danny's diagnosis with an inoperable brain stem tumor - allows himself to picture the boy at age 10, still opening another card and marveling at the care another child or grownup showed for him.

Many individual packages contain scores of cards drawn by children at schools, daycares, camps and houses of worship.

He estimated that by Wednesday, Danny's family members in three Foxboro households combined had opened 2,000 pieces of mail - less than 1 percent of the mountain.

Signe said one woman, nine months pregnant, wrote that she had her labor induced last Thursday so that her baby would share Danny's birthday, July 25, and she would always remember him.

Another writer informed Danny that a tree has been planted in his name in Yosemite National Park in California.

A photo from 4-year-old "Bella," of Metaire, La., will grow into the collage which Danny's mother, Carley Nickerson plans to make with the many portraits kids are sending.

Four 18-year-old girls wrote from Greece. They invited Danny to visit them there as soon as he is well.

One card came from Italy - with a note penned in Italian.

"We don't know what it said," Murphy admitted.

While not ready to call in a translator, the family is taking care to organize the opened mail.

Carley and Danny's father, Dan Jamieson, are setting aside some presents for delivery to Children's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"They're paying it forward," Murphy said.

For all the joy, Wednesday was a tense one for the family. Danny went to Children's Hospital in Boston for the bi-monthly MRI test that tracks the size of the tumor.

The previous two MRIs brought good news - no changes, Murphy said.

And if Danny's celebrity engagements have drained all the adults around him, he at least is still packing the energy of a 6-year-old.

Murphy smiled when recounting how his grandson, celebrating the freedom imparted by one of his gifts, ran naked around the house, wearing a perfect-fit, hand-made Mohawk wig.

"We are having fun," Murphy said.

Then, he opened a card from El Paso, Texas, and read aloud: "I love Danny. Keep on fighting, for God is with you."

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