Teen with autism receives 10,000 birthday cards after plea

In this photo provided by Rebecca Guildford and taken sometime between 2014 and 2016, Hallee Sorenson, of Bangor, Maine, poses for a photo in the Bangor area.
(Allyson Seel-Sorenson / Courtesy of Rebecca Guildford via AP)

A young woman with autism who was left crying into her birthday cake last year when nobody showed up to her party is going to have an awesome celebration this year, thanks to an online plea by her cousin that has flooded her mailbox with 10,000 birthday cards.

Rebecca Guildford of Massachusetts posted her appeal on Facebook on June 6. The post has been shared more than 230,000 times.

The post describes a sad scene, in which 18-year-old Hallee Sorenson of Bangor, Maine, sat alone in a bowling alley last year for a birthday party that no one attended.

"She had been so excited to have a party with her friends," Guildford wrote. "Hallee sat at her party anxiously waiting for her friends to arrive so they could have fun.… but Hallee's friends would never arrive. Not a single one."

Guildford described her cousin as a "beautiful young woman — both inside and out," and a "best friend to all" who "lights up a room," when she asked for help in making this birthday memorable.

"Hal loves getting mail — this would be the best birthday gift she could ask for," Guildford 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."

So the Internet did what the Internet does. It reacted — this time in the most glorious way possible. Sorenson, who will turn 19 on July 19, has received birthday cards from the Boston Red Sox, Washington Redskins, John Elway and even the state of Ohio. A deluge of greetings, flowers, teddy bears and even CDs from all over the world have kept Sorenson's postal worker busy.

Sandy Coronilla is a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune.



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