Last year, no one came to Hallee Sorenson’s 18th birthday party. Now, complete strangers from around the world are rallying to make her birthday this year one to remember.
According to ABC News’ affiliate WGGB, Sorenson’s cousin, Rebecca Prefontaine, wanted to make the teen’s birthday celebration this year extra special after no one showed up to her party last year. Prefontaine turned to social media for help, and in a Facebook post from June 7, she introduced fellow Facebook users to her “amazing” cousin, who has autism.
“She lights up a room with her smile,” she wrote. “Hallee is funny, sweet, caring, smart, an athlete, a jigsaw puzzle champion, a wonderful student, and a best friend to all.”
She also wrote that Sorenson was “heartbroken” at her party last year and shared a photo of her celebrating alone.
This year's celebration is different though. In her post, Prefontaine wrote that she wanted to collect cards for Sorenson "and flood her mailbox" before her birthday on July 2.
"Hal loves getting mail -- this would be the best birthday gift she could ask for," she wrote.
In less than a week, the post has been shared more than 228,000 times. A Facebook page called Hallee's 19th Birthday has been set up for updates, and according to the page, Sorenson has already received a collection of birthday gifts including cards, flowers and an afghan from a woman who referred to the teen as an "honorary granddaughter" on the package.
Sorenson's birthday celebration shows no signs of slowing down. According to an update on the Hallee's 19th Birthday page, Sorenson's family, whose "gratitude is hard to put into words," anticipated receiving 5,000 cards and letters Monday morning. In an interview with WGGB, the teen's mother, Allyson Sorenson, shared her gratitude for the immense support.
"Thank you for trying to give my daughter such a great birthday after so much sadness last year," she said.
If you'd like to send anything to Sorenson to celebrate her birthday, you can send it to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, Maine 04401