Several Mission residents and businesses came together to throw one Mission girl a birthday she won’t soon forget.
Manuel Brechmann has been on disability for years due to the rare blood disorder Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP) and says he didn’t have a lot of funds to pull together a birthday bash for his daughter Madison.
Madison, who turned 11, wanted a bicycle for her birthday, so he turned to social media for help.
That’s when he says Mission kicked into action.
He says the response was “absolutely overwhelming” – several offers of donated bikes on top of many other gifts began pouring in on the Mission BC Neighbours Facebook group.
“I asked if someone had a bike for sale and so many people in Mission came forward to help,” he said. “I am still in shock. I haven’t stopped crying since last week.”
Nadine Langford was one of the driving forces in pulling everything together for Madison’s big day. She and a group of residents got together behind the scenes in order to pull off the surprise – coordinating a day fit for a princess. In the end, she ended up getting much more than just a bicycle.
“Manuel was finding it almost unbearable to pull off this birthday party for his daughter, so I jumped on it as soon as I saw it,” Langford said. “We became friends right away and we had four other people spearheading it.”
Madison – a Grade 6 student at Christine Morrison Elementary – was unaware about the special birthday weekend planned and said she was “completely surprised and happy” when she figured it out.
“I had no idea. It was awesome,” she said.
It began with a shopping trip to find a birthday outfit as well as a hair styling at a local Mission studio before heading to Rocko’s Diner for lunch and free milkshakes.
Community support continued to pour in. The Candy Shack provided the party goers with bags of candy, a local locksmith bought lunch for everyone involved and a princess dress-style cupcake cake was donated by 14-year-old Jordyn Mooney.
Mark Davies, another driving force in making the day successful, says his son donated his bicycle, which was renovated with all the necessary bells and whistles for Madison. They even managed to outfit dad and daughter with customized neck warmers.
Langford believes this is just the start of more community outreach the group will begin looking at, and with Christmas right around the corner, there doesn’t seem to be a better time to start.
“We were thrilled to ‘adopt’ this Mission girl and help her dad give her a special day,” Davis said. “This community is amazing. A little girl got the princess treatment of a lifetime.”