1 million friends help mom celebrate son’s birthday

People the world over responded in heartwarming fashion after a Missouri mom started a Facebook page to wish her son happy birthday.

It stemmed from a tear-jerking conversation with the woman’s 10-year-old son, Colin, who has a sensory processing disorder and another disorder similar to autism and Asperger syndrome.

“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,” the boy’s mother, identified only as Jennifer, told WOOD TV. “And I said, ‘Why don’t you want a party?’ — ‘Mom, who am I going to invite? I don’t have any friends.”

Jennifer wrote on Facebook that social skills are not easy for Colin and he often acts out at school. She said he eats lunch alone in the office because other kids won’t let him sit with them.

She wanted to do something to show Colin how much he is loved, so she set up a Facebook page on Feb. 2 asking people to share birthday wishes with her son, who turns 11 on March 9.

The page got a few thousand likes the first day and just kept growing. Ellen DeGeneres posted the story on her show’s page, and the birthday wishes came pouring in.

More than a million likes later, Jennifer is astounded.

“He’s going to have a lot of friends after this,” she said. “They may not live by him, but he’s going to have a lot of friends.”

People from around the world have wished Colin happy birthday on the page. Some have shared stories of their own struggles and words of encouragement for the boy.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t have many friends, and sat by myself at lunchtime,” one commenter wrote. “Now I’m grown up and have a GREAT life. Just remember that no matter how they seem now, things can always change in the future.”

Jennifer said she is keeping the page a secret until Colin’s birthday, when she’s planning to catch his reaction on camera.

Contact Stephanie Grimes at sgrimes@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @steph_grimes