Mean girls won't spoil Gabi's birthdaySave
By Sieska Verdonk
Nine-year-old Gabi loves to read and play outside.
She's also a talented singer and rapper.
For Gabi, singing has become an escape from problems with bullies she has to navigate at her Whanganui school.
Gabi has epilepsy, her mum says that's made her a target in the playground.
The problems with bullying began two years ago when she was targeted by one particular classmate.
"I've tried to enrol Gabi at other schools, but the waiting lists are too big, so unfortunately she has to stay at her current school," says Ms Barnett.
This month, in a bid to make more friends, Gabi and her mum decided to throw a birthday party.
She asked all of her classmates to come, but not a single one agreed to attend.
At her wits end, a friend of the family stepped in, asking the community to come to send a birthday card to Gabi.
The post went viral, then the messages of support started rolling in.
Then there are the presents, dozens of them from three continents.
"It's like I said on the Facebook page, I'm speechless," says Ms Barnett.
Gabi doesn't yet realise the support she has, she's too young for social media.
This Sunday, her mother is planning a party her daughter will remember for life.
"I think she's going to feel very loved and special. It's how she should feel," says Ms Barnett
Toni Barnett is also encouraging people to record messages of support for Gabi, and post them to her Facebook page.
To find it, search for 'Gabi's Surprise 10th Birthday."
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