When his original birthday party was a bust, people from all over the country stepped in to make it special. This weekend, a little boy from St. Charles finally got to celebrate his birthday surrounded by friends.
Cole Hittler has a rare speech disorder, called Apraxia. While he has come a long way, he still faces many struggles.
Cole turned seven in April. He shares his birthday month with two other family members, so his family often celebrates with one big party. His mother, Tracey, said none of the kids invited to Cole’s birthday showed up.
She posted her disappointment on Facebook, in a group for other families with children with Apraxia. Suddenly, support for Cole poured in from all around the country. Strangers sent him birthday cards and gifts.
A family friend, Carla Gibson, saw the story.
“It was touching to me, and I just wanted to do something,” Gibson said. “I had lost sleep for three days, and I thought — you know what, I need to throw this kid a birthday party!”
Gibson recruited several sponsors and threw a huge birthday bash for Cole on Sunday. A limo picked up him, and his siblings, from their home in St. Charles. The limo was escorted by the Maryland Heights Police Department. It dropped the family off at Dave and Busters, where a crowd was waiting for them with balloons, gifts, and a cake.
The party was a surprise for Cole. Besides friends and family, the guest list included a police K9 and Batman — who brought the Batmobile.
“This party is rocking, and people just came from all over to show their love and support for Cole,” Gibson said.
“The generosity and the support is amazing,” said Cole’s mother, Tracey. “I’m actually beside myself. I would have never imagined in a million years so many people would care enough to and think enough of our family to do something like this for us.”
Later this summer, Cole’s family plans to participate in a walk to help raise awareness for Apraxia of Speech. That’s scheduled for August 12th at Officer Blake C. Snyder Memorial Park in South St. Louis County.