KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — When a Kalamazoo boy told his mother that he didn’t have any friends to come to a birthday party, she created a Facebook page to surprise him — and it got immediate, worldwide response.
The boy’s name is Colin, and he’ll be 11 years old on March 9.
“We were talking about his birthday coming up and I had mentioned it a few times and he said he didn’t want a party. And I said, ‘Why don’t you want a party?” — “Mom, who am I going to invite? I don’t have any friends,’” mother Jennifer recalled Colin saying.
That broke Jennifer’s heart.
About a year ago, Colin was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder and another disorder similar to autism and Asperger syndrome.
“Things like lights and sound and changes will cause him to melt down,” Jennifer explained.
And he struggles with socializing.
“When you put a bunch of 10 year olds and one who acts like that, and they are all going, ‘What’s wrong with that kid?’ You know, it’s hard,” she said.
She said it’s difficult for other children to understand Colin’s disorder.
“If you can see someone with challenges, like someone with crutches or wheelchair, you know you need to open the door for them. But if someone is acting differently, you may not know they have challenges that you may not understand,” Jennifer said.
So she decided to reach out to adults by creating a Facebook page for people to wish Colin a happy birthday. She did not expect anything extraordinary.
“Then some of my friends and their friends will like the page, post some nice comments for his birthday. It will be a great surprise,” she said.
But Jennifer got the first surprise.
What started out as a silly little page to make her son feel better grew to much, much more. In two days, the page got more than 4,000 likes. But Sunday night, a week after it was created, it had more than 8,600.
Among those sharing birthday greetings, pictures and words of inspiration were people from as far away as Scotland and Switzerland. Some shared the struggles they experienced while growing up. Others wrote how Colin’s story is helping them.
She said that when Colin sees the page, he will understand that he’s not alone.
“He’s going to have a lot of friends after this. They may not live by him, but he’s going to have a lot of friends,” Jennifer said.
Colin still doesn’t know about the page. Jennifer plans to surprise him with it on his birthday. She said she’ll get his reaction on camera.
Jennifer has seen so much support for her son that she opened a PO Box for people to send Colin cards.
PO Box 756
Richland, MI 49083-0757