(CNN) — After losing his mother to a brain cancer In April, a Tennessee woman wanted her little sister’s birthday to be special.
But after only one person responded to her party invitations, strangers stepped in to show their support.
Chloe Sexton, 28, and Charlotte Sexton, 8, lost their mother, Jennifer, on April 12 after battling brain cancer for 11 years, Chloe told CNN on Saturday.
Chloe is now Charlotte’s legal guardian.
“I sent out the invites early and didn’t hear anything except from one person,” Chloe said. “She upset me that she couldn’t give her the birthday she wanted.”
Charlotte had to transfer to a new school in the middle of the school year after losing her mother. Her new classmates and her parents were aware of her mother’s death, according to Chloe.
So that’s when Chloe took to TikTok to vent her frustrations.
That video had more than 9 million views and more than 30,000 comments as of Saturday.
Chloe said her comments and inbox began to fill up with messages from people offering to help decorate, attend the party, and asking what gift to bring Charlotte.
“This was the first time I’ve seen people put action behind their empathy,” Chloe commented. “The overwhelming support made me feel not just like a face online, but that I mattered and my story mattered to people.”
On July 9, Chloe was able to surprise Charlotte with guests, balloons, gifts, and more, thanks to the help of strangers.
Some women helped decorate the house and set up a balloon display and another brought her horse from Oxford, Mississippi, to give the children pony rides at the party.
Throughout the day people passed by, even if it was only for 30 minutes, from many parts. At one point there were about 20 children in the house, Chloe said.
A group called Mid South Jeeps also organized a parade for Charlotte. About 25-30 jeeps passed by her home in Memphis, some delivering gifts through the window and others listening to birthday music blaring.
“I kept asking myself ‘Is this it for me?'” Chloe said. “There was so much emotion, her eyes were so big.”
Not only was it her first birthday without her mom, but it was her first birthday party, Chloe claimed. Charlotte had never had a party like this as her mother battled cancer for most of her life.
“Charlotte said to me ‘I think mom would have loved today’ after the day was over,” Chloe said.