Strangers from around Minnesota flocked to a ten-year-old girl’s birthday party, after several of her classmates didn’t respond to their invitations, in hopes of giving her a celebration she’ll never forget.
Mackenzie Moretter, who has a rare genetic disorder called Sotos Syndrome that has delayed her development, which makes it hard for her to socialize, told her parents she wanted a ‘big-girl party’ for her tenth birthday.
This meant inviting friends, but after her parents sent invitations to Mackenzie’s classmates and heard no response, her mother Jenny Moretter took a different approach.
Jenny Moretter went on Facebook and posted in a few local groups asking families with girls around Mackenzie’s age to stop by their Shakopee home on Saturday – and the response was overwhelming.
‘I want so much for much for Mackenzie to belong and for her to have friends and people to accept her for who she is,’ Jenny Moretter told CBS Minnesota.
Mackenzie told KSMP that she is often by herself on the playground, saying that ‘kids don’t want to play me’.
Her mother said that kids seem to like Mackenzie, but they don’t seem to socialize with her. But after not getting RSVPs and having families of Mackenzie’s fourth-grade classmates cancel, she wanted to do something about it.
‘I thought to myself, it is not going to happen again this year,’ Jenny Moretter said about her daughter who was diagnosed with Sotos Syndrome when she was one year old, and her skull didn’t form completely, causing brain damage.
She hoped that with her Facebook posts that she would get comments from people wishing her daughter a happy birthday and a few families would show up to her family’s house.
‘I honestly thought it would be a matter of a few other moms out there who I touched their heartstrings,’ she told CBS.
But to her surprise, more than 700 people joined a Facebook event she titled ‘Mackenzie’s Birthday Party’.
Mackenzie’s dad, Matt Moretter, was just as surprised as his wife.
‘Jenny was hoping to get ten girls to show up and all of a sudden this happened,’ Matt Moretter told Buzzfeed. ‘We had hundreds of people arrive on Saturday.’
The party was moved to a local park, where city officials offered to host the family.
People of all ages came with gifts, food, party favors and even a banner that read, ‘Happy Birthday Mackenzie’.
Local companies donated food and people brought chairs to the area, and even a woman dressed as Elsa from Frozen showed up to celebrate.
And Shakopee Mayor issued a proclamation announcing that Saturday would be Mackenzie Moretter Day, giving the girl a signed certificate of the declaration.
Matt Moretter said the day was ‘amazing’, and he learned that his family was not alone in the birthday scenario they experienced.
‘There were so many people who had similar stories to ours that we got to meet,’ Matt Moretter told Buzzfeed.
And Jenny Moretter again went to Facebook to thank all of the people who touched her family and made Mackenzie’s birthday a day she wouldn’t forget.
‘I’m overwhelmed with emotions, my heart has been touched by so many stories similar to mine or just people wishing her a Happy Birthday,’ she said.
She added: ‘I will never be able to thank you all enough for your kindness.
‘I will not remember all your names or I may forget what was said or done but just know I am so incredibly grateful and blessed that you cared about my daughter. Love to all.’