One kid's birthday wish turned into a giant community event.
When Camden Eubanks asked his mom for the ultimate water balloon fight party, she had reservations. Camden is home schooled due to his apraxia (which causes issues with speech articulation). He's been in speech therapy since he was 2 years old and has made vast improvement, but sometimes it can still be difficult.
"He's a regular little boy," says his mother. "Camden is a math whiz, loves history, and wants to grow up to be a country singer like Luke Bryan."
Mrs. Eubanks didn't want Camden's water balloon party to be a bust. So she created an open invitation on Facebook to publicly invite anyone who wanted to come.
"Camden had been asking for months for a huge water balloon battle for his birthday with lots of kids and 2000 balloons. We bought invitations and...I was thinking about how sad it was that this really great little boy doesn't have any friends to invite to his party just because he talks a little different. I posted the situation to facebook hoping that a few of the people on my friends list may see it and bring their kids."
Her expectations were quickly smashed when someone shared it to reddit; the page went viral and the following day, Camden's party had RSVP's from people in Georgia, New Jersey, Maine, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, West VA, Maryland, Pennsylvania And Indiana.
The rest of the world has gotten in on the birthday job, too. People from Scotland, South Africa, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, London and many others have sent messages, cards, and even gifts. Birthday wishes have flooded the Facebook page, from family and friends, to strangers and celebrity. Senator Mark Warner even sent in a special video wishing Camden a happy birthday, while Senator Tim Kaine sent a handwritten note. Presents have been pouring in for Camden from far and wide. Strangers have sent toys, cards, gift cards, and much more. Others, like The Greenbrier & Natasha Paitsel, sent Camden to see Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert in West Virginia this past weekend.
"They don't even know this kid, but they have embraced him and made Cam see that not all the people he encounters in life will treat him poorly," his mom says. "It doesn't matter if he is a little different, he can still have friends."
By looking at the Facebook page today, it seems the party was a great success. The Troutville Fire Department came out to splash everyone with water from their truck, while strangers came out with presents, water balloons, and more. Cake, snacks, and drinks kept everyone's energy up for the celebration.
Mrs. Eubanks admits the attention was overwhelming at first, especially for Camden. Once his parents sat down to explain everything to him, Camden understood how big it had gotten and couldn't wait for his birthday party.
"We're just normal people," she adds. "We never meant for this to happen; we just wanted a few kids to come play with our son. What we received instead was thousands & thousands of people supporting us & showing us love. It has been life changing for us and we will never forget the things that these people have done for Cam. I'm not talking about gifts & things like that either- I mean the fact that he now knows it's okay to be different. You don't have to fit into society's standard of what normal should be. You can walk your own road and people will still support you & love you. We are forever grateful!"
To see video and photos of the big event or to wish Camden a happy belated, you can visit Camden's 10th Birthday Party Facebook here.