Woman with down syndrome surprised with car parade for birthday

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) – The coronavius has led to the cancellation of numerous events, including vacations, weddings, and even birthday parties.

But one Fall River family is not letting the virus stop them from celebrating while at the same time social distancing.

Mikayla Daponte dreamed of turning 21 at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

“For a year we had been planning,” said Victoria Daponte, Mikayla’s mother.

But the coronavirus put those plans on hold.

“We had it all planned out. Unfortunately, because of coronavirus, that all got canceled,” said Daponte.

Daponte still wanted to do something special for her daughter’s birthday, so she called friends and family and organized and impromptu car parade.

“I envisioned something a little bit smaller,” said Daponte after seeing 30 cars turn out. “This is amazing, I’m so excited.”

The caravan of cars was escorted by members of the Fall River Police Department. They drove to Mikayla’s house and surprised her from her front porch. Her loved ones drove by honking and screaming “happy birthday!” from the safe social distance of their cars.

“Oh my god, I teared up,” Mikayla said after seeing the parade.

The best part of the parade for Mikayla was seeing her mother, who she has not seen her in-person in weeks.

“I really loved that,” said Mikayla.

The mother and daughter have been keeping their distance because Mikayla has down syndrome and a compromised immune system. Her mom works in the emergency department of a hospital and could carry coronavirus.

“She’s very susceptible to respiratory issues. I can’t take a chance,” said Karl Daponte, Mikayla’s father.

The family still plans on celebrating at Foxwoods once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts