It’s the stuff of childhood nightmares: You’re so unpopular at school that no one wants to come to your birthday party. That’s the situation fourth grader Mackenzie Moretter, who has a rare genetic disorder called Sotos syndrome, found herself in last week after she distributed invitations to her classmates. But thanks to her mom Jenny Moretter’s savvy use of social media and the kindheartedness of other members of their community, the young girl’s celebration on Saturday in her hometown of Shakopee, Minnesota, was attended by about 300 people, including a player from the Minnesota Vikings.
Indeed, after Moretter discovered that her daughter’s 10th birthday party invitation received no RSVPs, she took to Facebook to ask other moms in the suburban Minneapolis community to stop by with their daughters.
“Hello moms. I’m writing because I have a beautiful daughter named Mackenzie who is turning 10. I recently invited several girls to her birthday party this Saturday. I got cancellations or no calls at all saying whether they’re coming or not,” wrote Moretter.
The heartbroken mother went on to share that bringing gifts for Mackenzie wasn’t necessary. “Just stop by and wish her a happy birthday,” she wrote.
Because of the disorder, which Mackenzie was diagnosed with when she was one, the little girl’s skull didn’t form completely, and she has some brain damage. The lack of response to her birthday invitation and the way Mackenzie is treated at school are sad reminders that not including people because they’re different is often just as hurtful as overt bullying, such as name-calling or making fun of someone’s appearance.
“Kids are friendly to her, but she doesn’t have friends. No one calls and talks to her. I’ll show up at her school and she will be playing alone,” Mackenzie’s dad, Matthew Moretter, told local news station KARE.
Jenny Moretter’s post went viral in the community, and so many people began RSVP’ing that local businesses donated food and the city agreed to host the event at a park. On Saturday, hundreds of people showed up for the party, and Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke declared it “Mackenzie Moretter Day.”
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson tweeted a photo of himself and his daughter with Mackenzie. “I was blessed and honored to meet and help celebrate Mackenzie Moretter’s birthday today! Thank u so much for having us,” wrote Johnson.
On the event’s Facebook page, thousands of messages of encouragement for Mackenzie are pouring in from all over the world. Some of the postings are directed to the girls in Mackenzie’s class who declined or ignored the party invitation. “When all those other girls grow UP they will regret not having known you. As adults we know that all you can do is your best,” wrote supporter Kathleen Makkreel.
Jenny Moretter posted a heartfelt thank-you on Facebook to supporters and attendees. “The outpouring of support for Mackenzie and our family has been humbling. We are truly, truly thankful for your kindness,” she wrote. “On Saturday, you changed the life of a little girl that many of you have never met. And, you’ve given this mother purpose to spread a message of acceptance, tolerance and love, beyond just our home.”
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Original article from TakePart