The Zoe Birthday Project Reminds Us About What is Important: Love


Zoe will be 11 years old soon. On July 5th, to be exact. She's been in a wheelchair since she was 14 months old, when she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. But don't cry for Zoe. Don't you dare.

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Zoe's mom blogs that her daughter has always been her rock, winning over everyone she's met with her smile and big heart. But now that she's getting older, she's starting to see the differences between herself and other girls in a different light. And it's making her sad. So Zoe's mom wants the love her daughter has given out for years to come back to her. She blogged about the present she wants to give her daughter, and her friends are helping to spread the word.

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One of those friends, a South Florida movie blogger, reached out to a contact he'd worked with at Unruly Media, Vysia Duffield. He was spreading the word and wanted to let her know. I met Vysia through her colleague, David Waterhouse. David and I used to frequent the social news site when both of us were journalists and remained friends over the years.

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Vysia, whom I met in person finally on a recent trip to London, emailed me the information last night and asked if I could help her spread the word. Zoe's family lives in Colorado. Her mom's blogger friend lives in South Florida. Vysia in London. Me in New Jersey. That's the Internet for ya.

So, this is what Zoe's mom is asking for, in her own words:

In attempts to change Zoe's mind about how insignificant she thinks she is, I'm putting together a birthday video. I would like people to hold signs - just a white piece of paper or two - that say "I love you, Zoe" or "Happy Birthday, Zoe" or "Zoe rocks" or even "Zoe, you are BEAUTIFUL." I will compile them into a slideshow and show her this for her birthday. My goal is to show her people all over love her and support her. Of course, I plan on using Katy Perry's "Firework" as the background song for my little firecracker.

If you would like to be included, email a picture to or shoot it to me on Twitter - @LO_Raine. Or check out our brand new Facebook page and tag your picture there. Please share this. Let's change one little girl's mind. Let's show her just how special she is. Convince her that she doesn't have to look like the girls on TV - she can look just like herself because she is beyond beautiful.

My photo above is my contribution to the project, and I'll be emailing it to Lorraine later today. I just want Zoe to know that she can be or do anything she wants. Forget about what society tells you you're "supposed" to look like. It would be incredibly boring if we all looked the same and had the same abilities and skills.

Go forth and conquer, Zoe.

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