April 19th is a day that one Minnesota girl will remember forever… and not just because it was her 10th birthday.
Mackenzie Moretter had invited a total of 10 girls to her party, all 10 of which said they could not come. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. Mackenzie has been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Sotos syndrome. Because of the disorder’s effects on her brain, she faces social challenges that make it difficult for her to make friends. Not only that, but the disorder also makes her taller than other kids her age, which makes her stand out even more.
“Kids don’t want to play with me,” Mackenzie said in an interview with Fox Atlanta. “She’s never really had any friends… No one has ever really come over to play. She’s just kind of played with her brother and sister’s friends,” explained Mackenzie’s father, Matt Moretter.
In the days leading up to Mackenzie’s 10th birthday party, it seemed this year was going to be as disappointing as previous birthdays had been… until her mom decided to do something about it. (Insert super hero music!!)
“I thought to myself, that’s not gonna happen again to my daughter this year,” Mackenzie’s mother, Jenny Moretter, explained to Fox Atlanta. So she did something extremely simple yet powerful. She posted the following on Facebook:
“My daughter has Sotos Syndrome which means she has development delays such as speech and learning. At school she struggles and is often alone on the playground. As a mother, it is heartbreaking because you want your children to be happy. I’m reaching out to moms who have daughters between the ages of 9 – 11 that would love to come to a birthday party tomorrow from 11 – 1:30. You don’t have to bring gifts or stay long, just stop by and wish her a happy birthday.”
All Jenny was hoping for was for a group of 10 – 15 people to show up. What she got was something so much better. Jenny’s Facebook post went viral, attracting attention from all over the world. Instead of 10 – 15 people coming out to Mackenzie’s party on April 19th, there were over 300 people in attendance. Not only that, but Mackenzie got to make new friends, “meet” Princess Elsa, and bring home a carload’s worth of presents.
Matt said to Buzzfeed News, “It was amazing… There were so many people with similar stories to ours that we got to meet.” Jenny expressed her gratitude on Facebook after the party:
“The outpouring of support for Mackenzie and our family has been humbling. We are truly, truly thankful for your kindness. On Saturday, you changed the life of a little girl that many of you have never met. And, you’ve given this mother purpose to spread a message of acceptance, tolerance and love, beyond just our home.”
As if this story isn’t amazing enough already, the mayor of Shapokee (Mackenzie’s hometown) named April 19th “Mackenzie Moretter Day”.
Moms can truly make a difference in their daughters’ lives by doing something courageous. Share your story of courage on our Facebook page.