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Neighborhood in Towson puts up carp streamers to show support for 10-year-old boy battling leukemia

Posted at 11:09 AM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 18:48:54-04

TOWSON, Md. — Take a drive along the streets of the Knollwood neighborhood in Towson, and you'll start to see a pattern.

Everywhere you look, you'll see a colorful carp wind sock blowing in the breeze.

They're on street signs and lamp posts and mailboxes. Some neighbors have multiple wind socks in their yard. Each streamer is a symbol of love, support and strength for their 10-year-old neighbor Andrew Mercier.

About a month ago, Mercier was diagnosed with leukemia. He spent a month being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital and is now back at home. When he came home, he was greeted with beautiful carp streamers in his neighborhood.

"It makes me feel good, it makes me feel better," he said.

Mercier's mom, Colleen Mercier, says her son has shown incredible strength since his diagnosis.

"He's just been amazing, and he's been rocking this leukemia thing from the very beginning," she said.

When the Knollwood Association president, David Riley, heard about Mercier's cancer diagnosis, he gathered up some neighbors to figure out how they could help.

"We saw that these carp streamers are something that the Japanese do to celebrate children's endurance and strength, and we thought it was the perfect community response to this," he said.

The carp streamers, called koinobori in Japanese, are displayed on May 5 to celebrate Children's Day in Japan.

The Knollwood community started to hang them up around that time, and weeks later Riley says he still sees new streamers popping up on lawns and street signs. People in surrounding neighborhoods in Towson like Stoneleigh and Rodgers Forge are also hanging up the streamers, and the Knollwood Association's Facebook page has pictures of streamers from as far as San Diego.

"It’s been a good thing for the community to come together to support one of our residents who is facing a real severe health challenge," said Riley.

Mercier has received well-wishes from all over the country, even in the form of a potato from Potato Parcel. His family says they are grateful to their neighbors and everyone who is rooting for their son's recovery.

"It's cool to see all the mail come in and the support, and we’re just overwhelmed and thankful that he has something to smile about everyday," said Colleen Mercier.

Triple Crown Tattoo in Towson drew a picture of a carp that kids can print out and color for Mercier. You can send Mercier cards or letters to P.O. Box 20209 Towson MD 21284.