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Batesburg-Leesville community rallies around girl with special needs to make birthday memorable

Riley Holcomb is turning 14 years old in June 2022.

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. — One little girl in Lexington county is feeling a whole lot of love from her community, just in time for her birthday.

Riley Holcomb is turning 14-years-old in June and is dreaming of a magical, fancy tea party with dresses, gloves, tea cakes, the whole nine yards.

She lives in Batesburg-Leesville with her family.

"She has 1q21.1 micro deletion, which is a rare genetic disorder. It presents as autism," Mandi Johnson, Riley's mother said.

Mandi wants to make her daughter's birthday tea party next month a celebration to remember, so she posted on Facebook for suggestions.

"She wants everything fancy and frilly and sparkly and just big and her personality is big, so I really want to make her party come to life for her, she deserves it," Johnson said.

The community is listening. Places like Faithful Café and Hartley House have offered big discounts or even a free space for the party. 

"We've been trying to think of ways that we can give back and get more support and more involvement in the community on a local level and so when we saw this we were like wow, this is a perfect opportunity to work with a family from Batesburg-Leesville," said Crystal Mustard, Hartley House venue director.

The heart of the town is shining through the birthday confetti. 

"We have a two-year-old son and I guess when I saw her post I just got to thinking as a parent there's nothing that you wouldn't do for your child. We just figured if we have something that could make a little girl's dream come true, why not offer it," Mustard said.

The family hasn't chosen a venue yet, but they're deciding soon.