When Jenny Moretter turned to Facebook after none of her daughter’s fourth-grade classmates RSVP’d to her 10th birthday party, she was simply aiming to prevent her daughter, Mackenzie, from having to celebrate her special day alone.
But on Saturday, the Minnesota mom— whose daughter has an enlarged skull due to a rare genetic condition— got an even bigger surprise: a birthday party with hundreds of supporters, mostly strangers, plus an outpouring of donations.
Mackenzie Moretter, now 10, has Sotos syndrome, a condition that occurs in an estimated 1 in 10,000 to 14,000 newborns. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Sotos syndrome causes intellectual disability and behavioral problems, as well as overgrowth in childhood. The condition is marked by a long, narrow face, a high forehead, flushed cheeks, a small and pointed chin, and outside corners of the eyes that point downward. Mackenzie underwent surgery to correct her enlarged skull, MyFoxTwinCities.com reported.
Some of the attendees at the girl’s birthday bash had at one point felt, like Mackenzie, outsiders in their social circles.
“We came out because Kyle went through some tough times like that too, and I they’ve [sic] got some awesome memories,” Jeanette Vanderberg, Kyle’s mother, who did not know the Moretters, told the news station.
Organizers spent 11 hours planning Mackenzie’s birthday party, which included a DJ, games, crafts, cake, BBQ and decorations. Football stars Charles Johnson, Vikings wide receiver and Buffalo Bills tightend MarQueis Gray also attended, as well as Elsa from “Frozen” and Snoopy. Local firefighters gave kids truck tours, too, all the while donations from supporters poured in.
“Chances are, I won't be able to say hello to everyone who is here today, so thank you all for coming, but when all is said and done, I cannot thank you enough for being here,” Jenny Moretter told MyFoxTwinCities.com.
The mayor of Shakopee, a city southwest of downtown Minneapolis, declared April 18 “Mackenzie Moretter Day.”
“I have a hard time making friends,” Mackenzie said, “but thanks to you, my voice was heard. I love you all.”