Strangers rally for B.C. teen’s birthday surprise

A Vernon teen’s 16th birthday dream came true after a parent’s plea on Facebook for guests

His name is Quinton Andruchow, he is from Vernon and he had one heck of a 16th birthday party.

Quinton is an autistic teen that was over the moon about his fast approaching birthday party. When his dad realized no one from Quinton’s class was going to attend his party, he was heartbroken.

“I wanted my son to know how special he is to me and after buying lots of food and drink people cancelled and I was devastated, so much so my neighbour saw me in tears and posted online,” explained his dad, Sean Quinton Starkes.

Starkes’ neighbour Marcie Roschat took to Facebook the morning of his party in a desperate plea to the community to have someone come celebrate his big day, and in true Vernon fashion, the community turned up.

“No one from his class wants to celebrate with him and it is breaking our hearts to see him alone on such a milestone,” read the initial Facebook post that was shared more than 150 times.

By the time the party began, an estimate of more than 70 strangers, the Vernon Fire Department and a local radio station arrived on their door step, gifts in hand, to make it a day he will never forget.

His father wrote on Facebook that Quinton called the party ‘unforgettable’.

“When people started showing up, I started cooking and saw a smile my little boy has not had in a long time. That was all I needed, no recognition, just the true smile on his face,” said Starkes.

“My kids are my life and I would do anything for them and Vernon showed me they have heart and truly this is a community that I, as a single dad, am proud to call home,”

Suzanne Robert was one of the strangers to see the plea online and jump into action.

“I saw the post that morning on Facebook and it tore at my heartstrings, I said no matter what we had planned that day we were going to take time out of our day and go to his party,” said Robert.

“I told my husband we were going and we were able to get our grandkids to come with us. I just thought it would be such a good experience for them to see inclusion, love and kindness in action.”

Robert tagged friends and shared the post as well to ensure more residents came to the party

“It just exploded on Facebook, Vernon firefighters were contacted, it was a community effort. So many people saw this need and opportunity to just show kindness to a complete stranger,” said Robert. “It was amazing.”

Many party guests even took the time to grab presents after it was Facebook that Quinton loves Minions.

Robert was in the dollar store looking for Minion items and ran into another family buying gifts for the same party.

“It was just this incredible sign and showing that Vernon is a city, but my goodness we are such a small town in so many ways. It was a day to be remembered,” said Robert.

“Everyone stepped up because there was a need. For me, I just thought it was the beautiful thing to come out of social media. So much negative comes out of social media, bullying etc., so to see something so positive that was huge for me.”


 

@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Image pulled from Facebook

Image pulled from Facebook

Just Posted

RDN says water in French Creek still potable despite levels of iron, manganese

Strategy to improve water quality being established

COVID-19: City of Parksville to open offices on June 1

Health and safety restrictions will be in place

Program at Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre offers chance to connect art, environmentalism

MAC program works to create community arts installation in city

Questions remain as summer tourism approaches in Parksville Qualicum Beach

COVID-19: Association hopes residents continue to support local businesses

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read