BANGOR, Maine — After none of her friends showed up to her 18th birthday party last year, strangers are striving to help Hallee Sorenson, a woman who has autism, have a good 19th birthday.
Last summer, Sorenson was looking forward to going bowling and eating cake and ice cream with her friends for her birthday. She invited her classmates and other friends, but none of them came, according to a Facebook post written by her cousin Rebecca Lyn.
"Below is the picture of her celebrating alone — eating her birthday cake," Lyn wrote on Facebook. "My cousin is a beautiful young woman who will always have the mind of a child … so as you can imagine, she was heartbroken and beyond sad. She was hurt."
Lyn took to Facebook to ask people to send Sorenson a plethora of birthday cards. She said her cousin loves getting mail.
"If you could find it in your heart to take a few mins out of your day and send her a card, I would be forever grateful," she wrote. "This would mean a lot to her mother as well, for as you can imagine, watching your child cry into her birthday cake breaks your heart. If there is anyone who deserves a great birthday, this is the girl. Feel free to share this post!"
Sorenson turns 19 next month. According to New England Cable News, Lyn was first hoping 50 to 100 of her friends would send her cousin cards, but the response has been great.
"This has blown up to something I couldn't have even thought of in my wildest dreams," she told NECN. "It's overwhelming, but in a good way. I definitely never saw this coming."
According to Bangor Daily News, Sorenson's mother, Allyson Seel-Sorenson, and cousin have gotten messages from around the world, and people have already sent birthday cards and even gifts.
A lot of people and businesses have offered to throw Sorenson birthday parties free of charge, but her mom doesn't plan to have a big party for her, according to Bangor Daily News.
"She just can't handle a big party. … But people have offered her parties. Geaghan's Pub (in Bangor) said they'd host a party for her. The bowling alley from last year said they'd have a party. Everyone has been so sweet and generous. But we're going to keep it low key," Seel-Sorenson told Bangor Daily News.