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Joy

Strangers showed up to give the coolest birthday party of all time to 8-year-old girl who only got 1 RSVP

The best kind of surprise party.

chloebluffcakes tiktok, charlotte joy birthday party

Kindness is the best kind of gift.

Charlotte Joy’s eighth birthday was fast approaching. Birthdays are often a source of unbridled joy for kids this age. Sadly, this wasn't the case for Charlotte. At least, not at first.

The young girl from Tennessee had experienced tragedy a few months prior—losing her mother, Jenny Wren, to brain cancer. Knowing a time for celebration would be more important than ever, her older sister, Chloe Sexton, tried to organize a birthday party, sending out invitations to all her classmates. Only one RSVP’d.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Sexton added that Charlotte had switched schools that year. Sexton made a special effort to “help grow a friend group” for her little sister, offering to arrange playdates for those who couldn’t come due to summer plans. "We sent out the invitations and on the back of the invitations, I made sure to mention, 'If you can't come, please just let us know.’” she told GMA.

Still … nothing.

Devastated, Sexton posted an emotional plea to TikTok on July 4, the day before Charlotte’s birthday.

“For anybody who has a kid that they're raising, if a kid in your child's class gives out birthday invitations, just come. It's like, an hour or two of your life. Please just come," Sexton said through tears. "My little sister turns 8 tomorrow. Her birthday party is going to be this weekend. Our mom died of brain cancer 83 days ago. One—one child from her class RSVP'd. I haven't even told her that. Like why? Why? Her whole class knew what happened.”

@chloebluffcakes Just go to the birthday party youre invited to 🥺 #birthday#grief#kids♬ original sound - Chloe

Fireworks could be heard in the background, something their mom told Charlotte “were for her” each year on her birthday, until this one. Sexton had been DIYing decorations in the garage by herself, determined to spend every night that week preparing for the party that weekend, no matter how few showed up.

Little did Sexton know that her video would be the very thing to turn their luck around.

Sexton’s TikTok quickly racked up 9.3 million views. And within hours, complete strangers offered to help. That Saturday, Charlotte's birthday was the stuff of legend.

@chloebluffcakes Replying to @chloebluffcakes thank you, from deep in my heart. Thank you alyssa, taylor, abby, cindy, libby and wveryone else who helped make this possible. You didnt just save a little girl from heartbreak, you saved something in me ♥️ #birthdayparty♬ Paper Birds (3 min) - Jordan Halpern Schwartz

Sexton posted a follow up TikTok showing the amazing turnout. A gorgeous “Encanto'' backdrop (complete with colorful balloon arch) filled the living room. Dozens of children rode a party pony and petted a slew of reptiles. A procession of 30 Jeeps cruised down the street handing out gifts. Charlotte even got her own personalized mini Jeep! Along with many, many other gifts.

As for Charlotte, her smile never stopped.

“It was even more beautiful than I thought it would be!” you can hear her sweet little voice say in the video.

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Charlotte and her big sis were saved from heartbreak. And though the party may be over, humanity is a gift that keeps on giving. Sexton told GMA that her P.O. box is filled “to the brim everyday” with birthday cards from folks on TikTok. Plus, both Charlotte and Sexton have made some new friends from that magical party.

Great things happen when people show up for others.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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