NORTH MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Many people have made wishes that never seemed possible, but a Florida teenager found a real life fairy godmother halfway across the country in Minnesota.
Marie Porter, 33, of north Minneapolis, never planned on her new role.
"Project Fairy Godmother started with just me making a dress," she said. "Soon everyone was throwing around words like magical, and princess, and fairy godmother, and it kind of stuck."
Her project started on Facebook. Porter is a member of Mensa, a high IQ society, and often chats in an online group with other women who are Mensa members.
One of Porter's Mensa friends, Heidi Jameson, had joyfully posted that her daughter with Asperger's syndrome was a finalist for homecoming court. Asperger's is considered to be a disorder on the autism spectrum, and the homecoming votes were heartwarming news for a mother who worried about her daughter being bullied in the past.
Abby Colston, 14, told her mother she wanted a homecoming dress inspired by her favorite online video game, "Neopets" but Jameson didn't know how she could come up with such a gown, lamenting to her friends on Facebook.
"She made it sound like it was completely impossible, so I thought, a challenge! I can do this," said Porter. "I called her up and said how much do you trust me?"
Even though Porter says she hates sewing, she started at age four, worked for 15 years as a fashion designer, and wrote two sewing manuals. The gift comes easily, she says, as someone who has Aspergers "super powers" too. She was diagnosed around age 15, and understands Abby Colston in a way not many can.
"I grew up feeling like I was dropped off on the wrong planet. And when you meet another Aspie, it feels like you are meeting someone from your own home planet, you know?" said Porter. "Aspies, we get overlooked so often we are broken and we need a cure, and we don't need a cure."
So as fast as you can say "Bippety Boppety Boo," Porter crafted an intricate butterfly inspired gown in just four days. The dress has 500 hand sewn crystals and layers of petals cascading down from the waist.
"It's math. I can look at any three dimensional structure and break it down to different components, shapes and proportions and recreate it. It doesn't matter if it is sewing or cooking or anything I can figure out how to build something," she said.
More than 20 Mensa friends from around world as far as Finland were so moved, they jumped in to donate all the accessories - from shoes to a necklace, professional photography and a headband. The owner of the Chapel of Love wedding chapel at the Mall of America, who is Porter's friend, even provided shipping.
Porter posted every step of the project on her blog.
"It spiraled out of control from there. It's had a really big response on Twitter and Facebook already, I think a lot of people who read my blog can see themselves in Abby to some degree," she said.
When the dress finally arrived in Plantation, Florida, the magical moment unfolded on Facebook too.
A video posted shows Colston shyly unfolding the dress, while her mother held back tears.
Colston didn't appear to be as excited as her mother, but Porter knew otherwise.
"Abby, her thing is she wiggles her fingers. So when she was wiggling her fingers, that was her being really excited. We think differently, it is usually people with high IQ, but we are just not as good at social cues," said Porter.
Colton told KARE 11 the dress was even more beautiful than she imagined it would be, and even though she wasn't elected to homecoming court, she still felt like a princess.
As it turns out, she wasn't the only one transformed.
"I don't like people at all, and this warmed me up a bit," said Porter. "Everyone is falling in love with this kid."
View the Fairy Godmother Project on Porter's blog, Celebration Generation. Click on the "Life" section.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)