Although nobody showed up to Hallee Sorenson’s 18th birthday in 2015, thousands of strangers are now showing their support after a photo of her party went viral on Facebook.
Sorenson, an autistic woman from Maine, is pictured in the photo sitting alone at her birthday party, reports the Daily Mail. Her cousin, Rebecca Lyn, posted it to Facebook in an effort to make sure Sorenson doesn’t have to celebrate her 19th birthday party alone, urging readers to send Sorenson a birthday card.
"You can help make this year’s birthday incredible," Lyn wrote in the post on June 8, according to the Daily Mail. She goes on to describe Sorenson as "a person who just happens to have Autism. She has never let that small detail define who she is as a person — which is why I refuse to use it as something to describe her."
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describes Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as "a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning."
Sorenson’s symptoms have not been reported, but common symptoms include repetitive movements and unusual behaviors, obsessive interest in objects and topics, and difficulty dealing with interruptions in routine, among others.
After Lyn’s Facebook post went viral, readers have promised to send Sorenson jewelery, t-shirts and more — although Lyn said a card will be sufficient to make Sorenson’s birthday a big success, the Daily Mail notes.
Sources: Daily Mail, Natonal Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke / Photo Credit: Rebecca Lyn/Facebook via Daily Mail