There's power in numbers -- and this was the case when celebrities and strangers banded together to surprise Odin, a Canadian boy diagnosed with Asperger's who was eager to celebrate his 13th birthday.
Like 6-year-old Glenn Buratti, who also has autism and few friends, Odin Camus was looking forward to his milestone birthday. But when his mom, Melissa, sent out 15 invitations to his birthday party, no one responded. Melissa still wanted her son to feel extra special on his birthday, so she took to Facebook to ask fellow moms if they would text birthday wishes to Odin and also recommend a better way to celebrate.
Within hours, Odin received over 5,000 texts, and once the story appeared online, athletes and strangers across Canada, plus a handful of Hollywood celebs (Carrie Underwood, Elijah Wood, and Molly Ringwald) started using #OdinBirthday to tweet birthday wishes. To date, Odin has received over 32,000 birthday tweets, along with YouTube messages and invites to different sports games.
With the help of a mom group, Melissa also pulled together a bowling party -- which became a blow-out bash when strangers gathered to eat dinner with Odin before seeing him off in a limo. At the bowling alley, Odin was greeted by a huge group of reporters and well-wishers (including local police and firefighters) bearing gifts.
Speaking to The Peterborough Examiner, Odin shared, "It's amazing how people care. I feel absolutely amazing." His mom echoed her gratitude, "Odin and I have been pretty much crying all day. People are here because everyone knows a kid who struggles to fit in ... [N]o matter how down you feel, there's always someone there. Always."
And the celebration is still continuing, with Odin appearing on national television and being surprised with another gift: a trip to Halifax to visit a Royal Canadian Navy ship and become captain for one day.
Photo of Odin and Melissa Camus via new anchor Keri Ferguson's Twitter