Charlotte Joy’s eighth birthday was fast approaching. Birthdays are often a source of unbridled joy for children this age. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Charlotte. At least not at first.
The young girl from Tennessee had experienced a tragedy a few months before, losing her mother, Jenny Wren, to brain cancer. Knowing that a moment of celebration would be more important than ever, her older sister, Chloe Sexton, tried to organize a birthday party, sending invitations to all her classmates. Only one RSVP.
In an interview with hello america, Sexton added that Charlotte changed schools that year. Sexton made a special effort to “help develop a group of friends” for his little sister, offering to arrange play dates for those who couldn’t come due to summer plans. “We sent out the invites and on the back of the invites I made sure to say, ‘If you can’t make it, please just let us know,'” she told GMA.
Still … nothing.
Devastated, Sexton posted an emotional appeal to ICT Tac July 4, the day before Charlotte’s birthday.
“For anyone who has a child they’re raising, if a kid in your kid’s class is handing out birthday invitations, come along. It’s like, an hour or two of your life. Please come, Sexton said in tears. My little sister will be 8 tomorrow. His birthday party will be this weekend. Our mother died of brain cancer 83 days ago. A-a kid from her class RSVP’d. I didn’t even tell him that. Like why? Why? His whole class knew what had happened.
@chloebluffcakes Just go to the birthday party you’re invited to 🥺 #birthday#pain#kids♬ original sound – Chloe
Fireworks could be heard in the background, something their mother told Charlotte “were for her” every year on her birthday, until this one. Sexton had been tinkering with decorations in the garage on her own, determined to spend every night of the week preparing for the party this weekend, no matter how many people were there.
Little did Sexton know his video would be the only thing to reverse their luck.
Sexton’s TikTok quickly racked up 9.3 million views. And within hours, complete strangers offered to help. That Saturday, Charlotte’s birthday had become legendary.
@chloebluffcakes In response to @chloebluffcakes thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you alyssa, taylor, abby, cindy, libby and everyone else who made this possible. You didn’t just save a little girl from heartbreak, you saved something in me ♥️ #birthday party♬ Paper Birds (3 min) – Jordan Halpern Schwartz
Sexton posted a follow-up ICT Tac showing the incredible turnout. A beautiful “Encanto” backdrop (with a colorful balloon arch) filled the living room. Dozens of children rode a party pony and stroked a slew of reptiles. A procession of 30 Jeeps traveled the street to distribute gifts. Charlotte even got her own custom mini Jeep! Along with many, many other goodies.
As for Charlotte, her smile never stopped.
“It was even more beautiful than I thought!” you can hear her sweet little voice say in the video.
Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Charlotte and her big sister were saved from grief. And though the party is over, humanity is a gift that keeps on giving. Sexton said CMG that his mailbox is filled “to the brim every day” with birthday cards from people on TikTok. In addition, Charlotte and Sexton made new friends thanks to this magical party.
Great things happen when people show up for others.