Help this boy with Down syndrome get his birthday wish from Rider Strong

Monday, April 10, 2017
Boy with Down syndrome wants Rider Strong to send him a birthday greeting
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Alex Hengsterman is turning 13 on April 12, and nothing would make the boy's world quite like a wish from actor Rider Strong.

For this young boy with Down syndrome, nothing would make his world more than a birthday wish from his favorite actor, Boy Meets World's Rider Strong.

Alex Hengsterman's family would describe the soon-to-be 13-year-old boy as "the best."

"He is funny, he is caring, and he is a great family member and friend," Jackson Hengsterman, Alex's brother, told ABC.

Stacey Hengsterman/Facebook

To help make Alex's birthday on April 12 extra special, his older brother Jackson reached out to Strong on social media, asking for a happy birthday video with the hashtag #Rider4Alex.

Included in Jackson's tweet was a video of Alex, with an ear-to-ear grin, showing off his best impression of Shawn Hunter, the character Strong played, running his fingers through his hair.

"He loves the move Shawn Hunter does in the show where he spikes his hair up, like in the video I posted," Jackson said. "He does the hair-spiking often, especially when he sees some 'ladies' he is trying to impress. It's hilarious."

Stacey Hengsterman, Alex's mom, says that her son never idolizes the main character in a show, "always the friend, the sidekick."

"He is becoming a teenager. In his mind Shawn Hunter is the coolest teenager he can think of," Stacey told ABC. "I also love the fact that he also respects Rider Strong as the person he now is."

"He is constantly quoting the show, and watching it on his iPad," Jackson said. "I would be confident in saying he has seen close to every episode, if not every one."

Stacey Hengsterman
Stacey Hengsterman/Facebook

For Alex's birthday last year, he received a video of family and friends saying "Happy Birthday" to him. Alex loved the video, which inspired Alex's family to reach out to Strong for a birthday wish this year. Stacey said she is very proud of Jackson's efforts on social media to help Alex's birthday dream come true.

"Jackson is a terrific, thoughtful boy. He loves Alex and Alex loves him," Stacey said. "We did then have a ball seeing all of our friends instantly retweet, tag, like, share. We had a fun night seeing everyone jump into action."

If Strong does send Alex a video, his family knows the soon-to-be 13-year-old will be ecstatic.

"Just the thought of Rider saying that he heard Alex was his biggest fan and he was thinking of him would be something Alex would talk about for the rest of his life," Stacey said.

Stacey Hengsterman/Facebook

Jackson agrees with his mom's sentiment.

"I would be so happy. I consider him my best friend, and there is nothing I'd love more than to see him get this video from Rider."

Stacey also commented how this kind act helps take away the stigma associated with Down syndrome.

Stacey Hengsterman/Facebook

"Every time we promote how special these people are with Down syndrome and show the world how many people would do anything for Alex because he is so good - takes away the stigma. Makes them all a bit cooler."

Here's hoping Rider helps make Alex's birthday wish come true!