Few things are more heartbreaking for a parent than planning a birthday party for your child, only to have nobody show up to it. Sadly, this is exactly what happened to a woman named Kim, who watched as nobody showed up to the birthday party she planned for her daughter Amy, who is autistic.
The experience was so devastating that Kim promised herself that she would never throw a birthday party for Amy again. Because of her condition, Amy has trouble making friends, but Kim and the rest of her family knows that she has a big heart.
A few years later, when it came time for Amy to turn 13, Kim called Elizabeth Scott of Savage’s Bakery to order a cake that had lots of flowers, since Amy is “obsessed” with them. Elizabeth could not believe that Amy had never had a real birthday party, which is why she decided to do something special besides just decorating her cake.
“This spoke to my heart. I told her we would invite a bunch of folks and make it extra special,” Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth decided to throw a party for Amy herself, posting an invitation on the bakery’s Facebook page. She also called KultureCity, an organization that helps public places become more sensory-friendly for people with autism, asking if they could do something to assist with the party. The organization was founded by Dr. Julian Maha, founder of KultureCity, has an 11-year-old son with non-verbal autism. He understood exactly what Kim had gone through when she tried to throw a birthday party for Amy in the past.
“No one ever invites you to their birthday party and no one ever attends a birthday party for you,” he said.
Elizabeth and Julian teamed up to decorate the bakery parking lot with comfy bean bag chairs, water and lighting features, textile paneling with different textures, and other features to help children with autism calm down. Julian also brought a brand new sensory activation vehicle to the party, which helped everyone to stay calm.
“The other kids joined her in it, which relieved her anxiety, and then she went in after that and had a really good time at the party,” he said.
Amy was overjoyed to see that tons of kids and parents had come to her party.
“We made it a special day for her,” Elizabeth said. “Amy was all smiles, all day long.”
Kim was incredibly touched to see her daughter finally get the birthday party that she had always deserved. Julian said that it’s situations like this that led to him founding his organization in the first place.
“People like Elizabeth, for me, are the reason why we do what we do, because if we can convert someone like Elizabeth who really has no personal connection to disabilities and take that message of inclusion and acceptance to the next level, we’ve done our job,” he said.
Find out more about this heartwarming story in the video below!