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1.3 million 'like' friendless Michigan boy's Facebook birthday surprise

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) - A Michigan mother's attempt to cheer her 10-year-old son, who suffers from a disorder similar to autism and told her he had no friends, with a Facebook page has won the boy some 1.3 million fans on the social media site by Wednesday.

Jennifer Cunningham created the site early this month after her son told her he did not want a birthday party because he did not have friends, the Richland, Michigan, woman wrote on the "Happy Birthday Colin" page.

"Because of Colin's disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don't like him," Jennifer Cunningham wrote on the site, which has also drawn thousands of supportive comments.

Last year, Colin was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and another disorder similar to autism, his mother said in an interview with Wood TV 8, a local news station, which makes it difficult for him to socialize.

The boy likes the television show "Doctor Who" and enjoys holding open the door at his local church and greeting people as they arrive, his mother wrote on the site.

"Sweetie, it won't be like this always," a Facebook user named Carmen Smith-Boyd from Phoenix, Arizona, wrote in a typical message on the site. "One day you will have some friends. Maybe not a whole lot but one or two is all you really need."

As Colin's March 9 birthday draws near, Cunningham said on the site it was becoming increasingly hard to keep the page a secret from Colin so as not to spoil his birthday surprise, a moment she plans to record on video.

"Several kids at school told him they saw him on the news, and he overheard a teacher saying to another teacher that she saw him on Facebook," she wrote. "He doesn't know about this page yet."

(Editing by Scott Malone, Bernard Orr)

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