Facebook’s not all bad

Clay, front left, with some of the party-goers at his celebration at Chubby’s. | Photos: Contributed

BLYTHEWOOD – When new Blythewood resident Nicole Burleson’s family moved to Blythewood recently, they weren’t yet well acquainted enough with neighbors to invite them to a party for their son’s upcoming 11th birthday.

Still she wanted to make the day special for him. Taking to Facebook, Burleson explained in her post that her son, Clay, is autistic and that he couldn’t understand why the family’s friends and relatives back in Arizona couldn’t come to help celebrate his birthday.

Clay Burleson with some of the cards he received from the community for his 11th birthday.

“I was hoping, maybe, that the community could help celebrate his birthday by sending him a card. It can be homemade,” she wrote.

The response was overwhelming by any standards. First, the Fireflies delivered a card signed by the players along with a Fireflies shirt. Then, Chubby’s Burgers threw a party with all the trimmings (including quarters all around for the arcade) that was packed with well-wishers. The entire Blythewood High School senior class delivered over a hundred handmade birthday cards. Sweet Pea’s provided ice cream, and Lake Carolina Farmer’s Market sent Mickey Mouse (really!). The YMCA sent cards, and some families took their kids out of school early to drop by the party. And there were others, too many to mention, and more than 200 cards.

Burleson said Clay was a little overwhelmed at first, but loved every minute of it.

“And a week later, he’s still receiving cards,” she said. “But the best gift of all was when Clay was reminiscing his day and said, “I never knew that I was so special to people.”

“Our family thanks this community for that. It’s something he will never forget,” Burleson said.

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