RUSTBURG, Va. (WSET) — After the story of her birthday being overlooked went viral, a 16-year-old Rustburg girl is being shown love from across the country.
Three weeks ago on the day of her birthday, Tina Bryan found herself in tears.
“She feels like she gets overlooked by her family and friends,” Angel Neighbors, Tina’s mother, said.
Neighbors planned a sweet 16 birthday party for Tina, who has autism, but was heartbroken when no one showed up to attend the festivities.
“She did feel real down that she had no friends and family didn’t show up either for her birthday and that hurt her the most I think,” Neighbors said.
After seeing how sad the lack of celebration made Tina, her mother reached out to ABC 13 to ask the community to send Tina some birthday cards.
Since then, she has received thousands of messages from people wishing her a happy birthday.
“My son and I sat here for six hours opening up cards last night for her,” Neighbors said. “She even had a lady from Germany that wanted to send her something.”
Tina said that all of the well wishes have made her feel happy and loved.
People from across the country didn’t stop at birthday cards, sending teddy bears, flowers, barbies and one of Tina’s favorite gifts – a handmade necklace made by a blind woman.
“All the cards have been amazing, all the love has been amazing,” Neighbors said.
Tina said that all of the cards, gifts and kind messages have made her feel loved.
Now, she wants to make sure that others can also feel the same love, saying that she plans to donate some of the gifts she received so that no one else has to feel alone.
“Give it to homeless kids, the ones who do not have a choice,” Bryan said.