+
More

A 10-year-old gets the birthday of a lifetime after no one says they're coming.

True
Facebook

It's a rare occurrence when a professional football player shows up to your 10th birthday party. Especially when he wasn't originally invited.

But then again, Mackenzie Moretter's 10th birthday didn't turn out to be your average party.


All images by Keighla's Fresh Face Photography, used with permission.

Mackenzie lives in Shakopee, Minnesota, and had planned on celebrating her big day with kids her age in her backyard.

When every single guest declined Mackenzie's invitation, it looked like her birthday party was going to fall through.

Heartbreak and panic began to set in. Mackenzie's mom, Jenny Moretter, knew she needed to figure out a backup plan fast.

Mackenzie was born with a rare genetic disorder called Sotos syndrome that's made it difficult for her to make friends. The disorder has caused developmental delays and excessive physical growth during her childhood.

"She’s bubbly and she’s caring when you get to know her," Jenny told Upworthy. With Mackenzie's party only a day away — and no one coming — she knew she had to do something.

Jenny got online and, quite hesitantly, started posting her family's predicament in some local groups on Facebook.

Her goal was to hopefully get a couple of moms to bring their kids over to say "happy birthday" to Mackenzie. Nothing big.

But that's not what happened.

The posts she put up on Facebook received a ton of responses and spread to other groups — and then nationally. News stations began to call their house. Community members started asking to help plan the party. Local businesses committed to catering and decorating. A GoFundMe campaign was set up to cover all of the costs. A Facebook invite launched. The party went from being held in their small backyard to a local park. All within 11 hours.

Image by Facebook, used with permission.

The next day, when Mackenzie and her family showed up at the park, they couldn't believe what they saw.

Elsa from Frozen was there.

NFL Vikings player Charles Johnson came by with his family.


A DJ was there. Local firefighters showed up. A photographer, too. The place was flowing with pizza and cupcakes. A dream!

More than 350 complete strangers came out to celebrate Mackenzie's big day.

The mayor of their town Shakopee even declared it "Mackenzie Moretter Day." How many 10-year-olds get a day named after them?!

"I have a hard time making friends in school, but thanks to all of you … my voice was heard," Mackenzie told the crowd, according to KARE 11. "I love you all."


It's a day that will be remembered forever.

"I can’t explain it," Jenny said. "It was the most amazing thing that could have happened to our family. The outpouring support of strangers. People sending cards and calling. We received cards from all over the world: China, Ireland, even a personal letter from a supreme court judge."

And best of all? It's helped Mackenzie to find her voice.

"She speaks her mind freely now and is more confident."

Sometimes things don't go as expected in life, and sometimes your backup plan turns into the greatest plan of all.

"It's showed me the importance of spreading a message of acceptance, tolerance and love beyond just our home. And it's given Mackenzie a new voice and confidence, I never thought I'd see. This has truly been a life-changing experience for our whole family."

It's the ultimate gift. See more from Mackenzie's special day in this KARE 11 exclusive:

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

Keep ReadingShow less

A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

Keep ReadingShow less

Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

Keep ReadingShow less