Maine family turns to social media after autistic teen spends birthday alone

BANGOR, ME (WTVM) - A cousin's desire for her relative with autism to have a better birthday than she did last year has touched many hearts across the country with one Facebook post.

Rebecca Prefontaine describes her cousin Hallee as a beautiful young woman, who is a friend to all and a smile that lights up a room.

"Hallee is an amazing person - a person I am proud to be related to. She is also a person who just happens to have autism," Prefontaine wrote. "She has never let that small detail define who she is as a person - which is why I refuse to use it as something to describe her."

But Rebecca's post shows a photo of Hallee's 18th birthday in 2015, and where her request to make here next birthday, in July, better.

"Hallee sat at her party anxiously waiting for her friends to arrive so they could have fun...but Hallee's friends would never arrive," Prefontaine wrote. "My cousin is a beautiful young woman who will always have the mind of a as you can imagine, she was heartbroken and beyond sad. She was hurt."

Despite invitations being sent to her friends and classmates, Hallee was left eating the ice cream and cake she wanted to share with them alone. Rebecca posted that picture as asked for help.

"I would love to flood her mailbox with birthday cards, from all over! Hal loves getting mail - this would be the best birthday gift she could ask for," Prefontaine said. "If you could find it in your heart to take a few mins out of your day and send her a card, I would be forever grateful."

Since the post was made on June 7, Prefontaine's post has been shared more than 136,000 times.

The response has been immense, Prefontaine said.

"Many people are asking about sending gifts," Prefontaine said. "This is incredibly sweet of all of you and my family is very appreciative. That being said, gifts truly aren't necessary. A nice card would be just fine!!! Thank you so much."

Hallee's 19th birthday is in July. If you'd like to send her a birthday card, you can send it to this address:

Hallee Sorenson
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401

You can read the full post here.

Attempts to reach Rebecca for this story are ongoing.

Copyright 2016 WTVM. All rights reserved.