'Seinfeld' stars send birthday wishes to terminally ill super-fan
Although James Calder realized that his father, Jim, was nearing the end of his 2-year battle with lung cancer, that didn't stop him from celebrating his dad's 67th birthday.
Calder and his wife were already planning to get friends and family to wish Jim a happy birthday, when they decided to take the celebration up a notch -- namely, by getting cast members of 'Seinfeld', the Brooklyn man's favorite TV show, to participate in the birthday wishes.
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"We started planning how to pitch this to the 'Seinfeld' characters and started to reach out through published articles about the project, social media outreach and word of mouth," said Calder. "The 'Seinfeld' birthday project was born, but we really weren't sure how and if it would flourish."
Related: Take a look back at the show:
Soon enough, Calder learned that whatever doubt he held about the birthday project was for naught, as 'Seinfeld' videos, calls and wishes poured in. And better yet? Most were in character.
Remember J. Peterman, one of Elaine's bosses?
And Puddy? Elaine's on-again-off-again boyfriend?
If you don't remember Newman, you are not a true 'Seinfeld' fan.
These aren't the only characters that sent their best wishes to Jim Calder: The Soup Nazi, Mickey Abbott, Walter, Ping, Lippman, Carol and even Al Roker (as himself, of course) all participated in the 'Seinfeld' birthday project.
Jerry Stiller, otherwise known as Frank Costanza, also sent a video in character to Jim, although he requested that it "remain private for only [Jim] and [his] family."
Michael Richards, who created the iconic Cosmo Kramer, gave Jim a phone call to "wish him the best and have a chat." Calder was touched by the personal connection his father received from Richards, who, despite some coaxing from Calder for a character video, preferred for his birthday wish to Jim to remain out of the public eye.
One of the last videos to arrive was Julia Louis-Dreyfus'.
"You have a wonderful son who clearly adores you," said the woman who originated Elaine Benes. "So, congratulations on that; you did that very well...I just wanted to say happy birthday. I hope it's a great one, and I'm wishing you the very best. Have fun."
Just a few hours after Louis-Dreyfus' video arrived, Jim passed away in the company of loved ones. And although he succumbed to his long battle with cancer, his spirits were lifted by the support he received from the fictional characters he loved.
When Calder returned to his parents' house after his father's passing, with his wife and daughter, they turned on the TV to find what they consider more than a coincidence. One of Jim's favorite 'Seinfeld' episodes, "The Merv Griffin Show," was playing.
Jim Calder's obituary in the Bucks County Courier times paints him as a man who "had razor sharp wit and loved parties, holidays and sharing laughs. He had kind eyes but a kinder soul and a brilliant mind."
Calder asks that those inspired by this story, in order to support cancer patients and their families, make a donation in Jim Calder's name to the American Cancer Society.
Check out this inspiring story about how one family gave their cancer-ridden child everything she could ask for:
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