Living through coronavirus: Family makes special 8th birthday changes for Butler County boy

It wasn’t the eighth birthday party Luke Richardson expected, but like the rest of us, he won’t forget 2020 because of the way the coronavirus has controlled our lives.

Instead of attending an Indiana Pacers NBA game as a surprise, and having family and friends over for a birthday party, Luke celebrated with his parents, Samantha and Todd Richardson, and two sisters and FaceTimed his grandparents and aunt.

“It was definitely different,” said his mother Samantha Richardson. “We tried to make it fun and create a lot of memories. We still wanted to make it as normal and not sad in any way.”

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Luke’s two sisters, Madilynn, 13, and Emma, 11, hid presents throughout the house and they created a scavenger hunt to see if he could follow the clues.

“His sisters were super sweet,” Samantha Richardson said.

His parents and two sisters also sang, “Happy Birthday” and watched as he opened presents, moments that were shared on cell phones with his four grandparents. One grandmother, Barb Kilburn, made him a cookie birthday cake that she handed him through a car window.

Samantha Richardson said she hasn’t shared many details about the coronavirus with her son, a second grader at Fairfield North Elementary School. He was told he must stay home from school, perform proper hygiene and remain healthy, his mother said.

“He was really good about it,” she said.

In fact, staying home from school, not participating in sports or attending church — all regular activities for the Richardsons — have created “a lot of down time” for the family.

That, she called, “not a bad thing.”

She described the coronavirus as something, “unlike anything anyone has even seen.”

But eventually, the family hopes COVID-19 “blows over” and life returns “back to normal,” she said.

Then, she said, the family will throw another eighth birthday party this summer for Luke and his friends at the park.

“You only turn 8 once,” his mother said.


We’re looking to profile people throughout our coverage area about how the coronavirus is impacting your daily life. If you’re interested in sharing your story about how you’re affected or adapting to the situation, call Journal-News reporter Rick McCrabb at 513-483-5216 or email

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