Rebecca Prefontaine was deeply saddened last year when she had to watch her autistic cousin, Hallee Sorenson, celebrate her 18th birthday alone.
The Massachusetts woman told WGGB-TV that Hallee planned her own bowling party and sent out invitations to friends and classmates. But when the big day arrived, no one showed up.
"She was sitting there, eating her birthday cake, by herself and it was heartbreaking," Prefontaine told the local TV station.
After seeing Hallee's disappointment, Prefontaine resolved that the next year would be much different. She succeeded big time.
Prefontaine posted a simple announcement on Facebook, asking others to help her make Hallee's 19th birthday one to remember.
"I would love to flood her mailbox with birthday cards, from all over! Hal loves getting mail- this would be the best birthday gift she could ask for," Prefontaine 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 greatful [sic]. 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. Feel free to share this post!"
Since it was posted Tuesday, Prefontaine's message has been shared more than 155,000 times.
After many people expressed a desire send Hallee gifts along with cards, Prefontaine added note to her original post saying that wasn't necessary.
She told WGGB she has "been so moved by the outpouring of support."
Hallee's birthday is next month. Cards can be sent to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401