Rachel Paige
Updated Mar 04, 2015 @ 4:36 pm
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Meet Abby Snider, a 16-year-old from Virginia, who was diagnosed with leukemia last year. Because medical bills are incredibly expensive, once her treatment was completed, her parents didn’t have enough money to throw her a proper Sweet 16 birthday party. But don’t worry — this story has a happy ending. (Have your tissues ready just in case.)

A man by the name of Tom Mitchell heard about Abby, and her parents, and her birthday. Tom runs StillBrave, a local cancer charity, and he wanted to help Abby out. He decided to not only throw Abby a birthday party, but a SURPRISE birthday party. When the community heard what was happening, they chipped in, too, volunteering whatever, and however, they could.

Abby was told that she was going to going to give a speech at a StillBrave event, so she didn’t suspect anything when she had her hair and make up done, and boarded a stretch limo to head off to the event — AKA HER SURPRISE PARTY.

On Thursday night, 100 family, friends (and an ABC news team) gathered at the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia to greet Abby when she walked in. Everyone was in formal attire, and everyone uniformly screamed “Surprise” because that is what you do, folks.

“At first I was confused and then I started screaming and then I started crying,” Abby told ABCNews. “It was awesome. I literally felt like Cinderella for the night.”

“Last night, I had the honor and privilege to participate in making a surprise Sweet Sixteen Dream Birthday Party a reality for a very sweet 16-year-old girl,” Tom wrote on Facebook. “The look on Abby’s face when she walked through the door was, well, there are no words in this language or any other to accurately describe that moment. Suffice it to say, I am a better man today for having been there to see it.”

Abby had no idea. She was completely blown away — so yes, the whole event was an amazing success. “That moment when the door opened and I saw her face, it was amazing,” photographer Carolyn Rangel told BuzzFeed News. “I got goose bumps, and tears just found their way out.”

OK, now were all crying.

So a very happy birthday to you Abby, and here’s to many many more!!

Image via here and here.