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Holiday Heroes: Birthday Fairies Lighten Lives Of Kids Affected By Sandy

Birthday Fairies

Grace McCarthy couldn’t celebrate her sixth birthday because of Superstorm Sandy, but she got a special opportunity along with several other Long Island children, courtesy of the Birthday Fairies. (Credit: CBS 2)

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ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some very special birthday fairies on Long Island have reclaimed celebrations for children who were robbed of them in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, Grace McCarthy turned 6 in November, but Sandy robbed her of her birthday celebration.

“It got ruined,” Grace said, “because my house got flooded and I couldn’t live in it.”

Making a birthday party was the last thing her long beach parents could manage during disaster.

“We couldn’t have her original party as planned,” said Theresa McCarthy of Long Beach. “All her friends were scattered everywhere. We were heartbroken — birthdays are a big deal for little kids.”

But the notion of missing a birthday was catastrophic to Anna Koppelman, the founder of Birthday Fairies.

“It’s like the world is coming to an end at the moment, because it’s just like, your day,” said Koppelman, 12, of Manhattan.

Koppleman organizes birthday parties for underprivileged children. Then she thought about victims of Sandy.

“I wanted to throw a party, like, you know, bring some light into their lives, and just help them have fun,” she said.

Koppelman teamed up with Merrick resident Olivia Marine, who suggested they throw a birthday party for the children of Long Beach.

“Their parents are not thinking about their birthdays, unfortunately — and not because they don’t want to, but because there are more important things to do,” Marine said. “We’re fixing it today, and we are going to keep fixing it until they get back on their feet.”

The owner of Maple Lanes in Rockville Centre donated his bowling alley and 16 children from Long Beach finally got their day to celebrate. Every gift has been donated, from cupcakes to balloons.

And the parties will continue. Birthday fairies said they will throw a party each month for Sandy victims until they’re no longer needed.

Their goal, Koppelman said, is “just smiled on their faces. If they have a smile on their face, that’s my job succeeded.”

The children all received birthday gifts too — all donated.

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