Hundreds of Strangers Celebrate Terminally Ill Boy's 10th Birthday
"This is what got us through this last week with the doctor calling us last minute saying we're going [back to] the hospital," the Florida boy's mom said.
Terminally ill Eric Piburn received the celebration of his lifetime when hundreds of strangers came together to throw him what the town called: "The Epic Party of all Parties."
When Eric turned 9 last December, he told his mom, Randi Piburn, that he wanted to have a party. Unlike other 9-year-olds, Eric has never had a birthday party.
Randi Piburn told InsideEdition.com that most of past Eric's birthdays were either spent in the hospital, or family couldn't afford another expense on top of the medical bills.
But when Eric mentioned that he wanted to have a party while his mom was putting together his bucketlist, immediately, she responded: "Absolutely. You need a birthday party."
Randi Piburn said she had talked to a few friends about the idea and they immediately began spreading the word and taking charge. Within a few months, a group of women emerged to put together the entire event, which included raising money through a silent auction and asking local businesses for sponsorships. None of these women knew the family before having organized the 600-person birthday party.
"All the girls that were part of this were total strangers to us until we met them [at the party]," Randi Piburn told InsideEdition.com. The group has been in constant contact since the birthday party last Sunday.
Party-goers enjoyed bounce castles, games, cotton candy, and the company of several of Eric's favorite Star Wars characters, as donated by the MUCH Foundation.
"I loved it!" Eric Piburn screamed in an interview with News10 WTSP.
He was joined by his friends and family, as well as many people who only knew him through stories, but were nonetheless inspired by his positivity.
"Half of these people we don't even know personally, [but] all these people care about him and love him," Eric's mom said.
Randi Piburn told InsideEdition.com that there are no word to express her gratitude: "'Thank you' isn't big enough for everything [the town] did."
The date of Eric's party coincided with Rare Disease Day.
Eric Piburn was born with congenital heart disease, and has pulmonary hypertension. So far, he has undergone four open heart surgeries, and is still in desperate need of a heart and double-lung transplant. Eric's sister, 14, also has congenital heart disease, and has undergone one open heart surgery.
Last month, the hosts of "Wheel of Fortune" Pat Sajak and Vanna White virtually surprised the superfan during Eric's tour of WTSP's studios in Tampa, Florida. After having recorded every episode of the show to watch in the hospital, Eric was overjoyed to see the board light up with the words: "Wheel of Fortune Loves Eric Piburn."
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