Coronavirus: First responders, East L.A. neighborhood come together to help 9-year-old celebrate birthday

An East L.A. community and a group of first responders showed their love and support for a 9-year-old girl after COVID-19 dampened her birthday celebration.
EAST LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- A surprise birthday celebration brightened the day for 9-year-old MaryLou from East Los Angeles.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, along with some family financial difficulties, MaryLou told her mom she would bake her own cake, use her old birthday decorations and ask neighbors to sing happy birthday.

She got much more than she ever imagined, as first responders came to East L.A. to give MaryLou a parade.

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"It was really sad that her friends weren't going to be here," said MaryLou's mother, Sandy Marin. "She said 'Mom, it's okay, you don't have to worry' because I told her sorry I can't celebrate."

Deputy Sheriff Vivian Villanueva said he was "crushed."

"Being that I was born and raised on this street, I love East L.A., I love my community and to be able to give back to one of my own is amazing," he said.

"It's just heartwarming to see everyone coming together and we're taking care of each other," said L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. "We're not letting anyone go unnoticed. We're trying to support everyone."

MaryLou said she was overwhelmed by the surprise.

"When the cops all came, and the SWAT team, and they gave me presents, and I opened them. They were fun," said MaryLou.

COVID-19 not only affected her birthday, but also MaryLou's fourth grade graduation.

Despite these obstacles MaryLou remains optimistic and is mature beyond her years.

This perfect day ended with a rousing rendition of tthe "Happy Birthday" song for MaryLou.
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