Cards are pouring in from around the world in response to one girl's heartbreaking photo.

Hallee Sorenson's 18th birthday was a major letdown.

Hallee, who has autism, was supposed to have a big birthday celebration at a local bowling alley in Bangor, Maine. She had the ice cream. She had the cake. She had the balloons. All she needed was some good company. 

Only none of her friends ever showed up. Hallee was devastated.


But Hallee's cousin took to social media to make sure her 19th birthday would more than make up for it.

When Hallee's cousin, Rebecca Guilford, posted a photo of Hallee eating her birthday cake alone in that bowling alley, the heartbreaking image went viral.

But this was no call for pity. Rebecca asked people to not only share the story, but to send cards and gifts so that Hallee's next birthday, which is in July, would be her best one ever.

Her message reads:

"But you can help make this years birthday incredible!! 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. 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. 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."

What started as a simple request ballooned into an unbelievable show of support, with gifts and cards pouring in from all over the world.

From @xKiiraaa in Germany. Photo used with permission.

From @vicky_tymz in the UK. Photo used with permission.

Users on Twitter shared the story, and their cards, using the hashtag #CardsforHallee.

From @littlepol. Photo used with permission.

From Helen Hedley in the U.K. Photo used with permission.

Businesses, police departments, and schools chipped in with their own birthday wishes (and a free meal, if Hallee ever finds herself in Texas!).

From Norma's Cafe in Dallas, Texas. Photo used with permission.

From Matthew Scher and his fifth grade class at @PS153X. Photo used with permission.

And the story exploded on Reddit, where thousands of users wrote that they sent cards, puzzles, stuffed animals, and in one case, flight vouchers so Hallee could go explore a new city.

From @spicoli83. Photo used with permission.

The Bangor Daily News wrote that the stream of delivery trucks at the Sorensons' home has been nonstop, with some carrying up to 5,000 cards at once.

While all the cards and gifts have been a bountiful surprise for Hallee and her family — Hallee's mother told the Bangor Daily News they'd be donating most of the presents — the response so far has been magnificent and truly heartwarming.

Thousands upon thousands of strangers banded together to support someone who needed a little cheering up, spending their own time and money to make the world just a tiny bit brighter.

It's beautiful to see. And a reminder that the world can still get together to spread love.

More

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared