There are a number of things to look forward to on your 18th birthday — purchasing cigarettes or getting a tattoo —but what most people really want is to be surrounded by the people they care about. But that didn’t happen for Hallee Sorenson, an autistic young woman who spent her 18th birthday party waiting for her classmates to arrive. As time passed, the family realized that no one was going to show up. The birthday girl was surrounded by nothing but balloons. This deeply bothered her cousin, Rebecca Guildford, who decided to take action. In early June, she posted a photo of the lone celebrant with a heartfelt request to “make this year’s birthday incredible” and to “flood her mailbox with birthday cards.” “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,” Rebecca continued. And the world responded. The post has been shared over 273K times, and Hallee has received thousands of cards and gifts for her 19th birthday.Hallee Sorenson is 18-going-on-19, and she happens to have autism. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) vary, but are “characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.” According to the organization Autism Speaks, about 1 in 68 children are affected.
As shown in this photo, Hallee spent her 18th birthday alone. She had invited her classmates, but no one came. This also devastated her family.
After her cousin Rebecca Lyn posted the previous photo on Facebook, hundreds of thousands of people responded. She requested messages, not necessarily gifts, from readers and they flooded her mailbox!
Hallee received traditional gifts like flowers and balloons to cheer her up and let her know that people, even strangers, are thinking of her on her special day.
She’s even received this therapeutic paint by numbers set! The family didn’t expect this response at all, but Hallee, who is nothing but kind, totally deserves it!
The Police Department from Wakefield, MA took some time out of their busy day to snap this message for the young woman.
Hallee even received this special badge from the Minnesota State Patrol. These gifts remind us that it only takes a few moments to remind someone that you care.
We’ve mentioned that the world responded, and we weren’t lying! Someone deployed to Afghanistan felt moved and decided to send Hallee this message. Isn’t that wonderful?
July 2nd, Hallee’s 19th birthday, is just around the corner. She receives thousands of cards and letter every day, and all it took was someone to speak up.