On April 28, 2021, the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library hosted a heartwarming happy sixth birthday surprise celebration for junior library volunteer Alexandra Demapan Birnbrich. Joeten-Kiyu Public Library collaborated with the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and Island Apparel to make Birnbrich’s birthday wish come true.
Birnbrich is a beautiful 6-year-old girl who has a chronic medical condition and autism. Last year during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, like most children she spent her fifth birthday at home sheltering in place. While at home, she read books and played with her fire trucks. For her sixth birthday, Birnbrich asked her mother, Beth, who works at Joeten-Kiyu Public Library as the Technical Services librarian, if it would be possible to visit a real fire truck.
“I thought we were just going to pay a quick visit to the fire station and take a quick picture with one of the fire trucks. Nothing fancy, just low key,” said Demapan.
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library reached out to DFEMS Commissioner Dennis Mendiola and he and his team accepted our request.
JKPL then reached out to Island Apparel and shared Birnbrich’s story to Ed Calvo and his team. Island Apparel proceeded to sponsor beautiful shirts for Birnbrich’s birthday.
On the day of her birthday, Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, under the leadership of Library Director Erlinda C. Naputi, went full force with the Bookmobile, along with Cookie Monster and Elmo, to welcome the birthday celebrant! JKPL set up a beautiful library display, light refreshments, and a beautiful fire truck birthday cake.
“On behalf of the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library and your library friends, we wish you a happy sixth birthday! We know how much you’ve had to battle medically, and we wanted to celebrate something truly special to thank you for loving the library and growing up in and at the library. When you were 1 and 2 years old you celebrated your birthday at the library by throwing the first open community birthday celebration, followed by the second community birthday celebration the following year. You shared your cake and gifts with the community. When you were 3 and 4, you were in the hospital undergoing countless medical testing and procedures. When you were 5 you stayed home because of COVID- 19. We want you to remember and experience something magical this year!” said Naputi.
With all the pieces in place, Birnbrich and her mother visited the Susupe Fire Station early that Wednesday morning, where Naputi presented her with the printed shirts from Island Apparel honoring Autism Awareness Month in April and fire trucks. Meanwhile, DFEMS welcomed Birnbrich with a ride on a fire truck, guided her on how to hold the fire hose, and even how to hold the “jaws of life.” They demonstrated proper use of these life-saving tools. They sang to her Happy Birthday, and awarded her with a beautiful certificate honoring her as an honorary fire fighter for the day.
“On behalf of our family, we humbly thank you all so much! Alexandra definitely feels the love. Thank you all for taking the time to come out here and celebrate Alexandra’s birthday surprise. We appreciate all the hard work and effort taken to put this amazing and heartwarming event together,” said Demapan. (PR)