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People Are Sobbing Over This Autistic Teen Who Celebrated Her Birthday Alone

"If there is anyone who deserves a great birthday, this is the girl."

Originally posted on
Updated on

This is Hallee Sorenson, an 18-year-old girl with autism. This photo is from her last birthday party, which she celebrated alone when none of her friends and classmates showed up.

Allyson Seel-Sorenson

In a Facebook post that over 146,000 people have shared, Sorenson's cousin, Rebecca Prefontaine, said her cousin had been excited to "go bowling, have fun, and eat cake and ice cream" with the 20 friends that she had invited to her party, and was "heartbroken and beyond sad" when no one showed up.

Her mother, Allyson Seel-Sorenson, told BuzzFeed that her daughter is "the biggest love bug in the world" who "loves everybody," and that seeing her "sit there crying over her birthday cupcakes" while wearing a party hat was "absolute heartbreak."

"It’s hard enough to explain to a child who understands what’s going on," Seel-Sorenson said. "But when you have a kid like Hallee, who doesn't understand and was hurt for the first time in her life...as a parent, it was horrifying."

Allyson Seel-Sorenson

Seel-Sorenson said she took the viral photo when her sister called to ask why she wasn't posting any pictures from the party.

"I was hiding behind a pillar, crying so hard I couldn’t talk," she said.

They left, donated the food from the party to a local homeless shelter, and went home.

Now, Prefontaine is asking that people everywhere flood her cousin's mailbox with cards for her 19th birthday in July — and they're already pouring in!

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

Prefontaine went on to say: "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."

The story has touched thousands, and people everywhere are promising to send her a card.

And the outpouring of support "means the world" to her mom.

Allyson Seel-Sorenson

"People like Hallee just want to be included," Seel-Sorenson said. "They count. They matter."

Just today, the FedEx truck has visited their home three times, and delivered seven floral arrangements and more than 30 cards.

"She knows they’re for her and she asks, from who?" she said. "And I say, they’re from friends who want you to have a happy birthday."

If you want to send Sorenson a birthday card, you can send it to:

Hallee Sorenson

34 Wellesley Way

Bangor, ME 04401

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

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