'Lost Boy' Celebrates His First Real Birthday...Ever

'Lost Boy' Celebrates His First Real Birthday...Ever
SEATTLE - In the late 1980's, 20,000 boys escaped the civil war in Sudan. They became known as the "lost boys."

Those boys are men now. Abe Bol was only 3 when he ran for his life. The sophomore at Seattle Pacific University was too young to remember.

"No, I don't remember," Abe Bol says.

He's been told when the violence came, he ran. His brothers and sisters ran different directions. The 3-year-old marched for months through the desert with the others.

KOMO 4 News asked him, "So someone must have carried you, right?" Abe nodded, "Yeah."

It wasn't his parents. They were killed along with four of his brothers and sisters.

Abe was all by himself except for the man who found him in the jungle hiding.

"A stranger?" we asked him. "Yeah," he responded. That kind stranger would carry this lost boy to safety in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.

The lost boys lost so much, including something we take for granted. They lost their birthdays.

"When they came over to the United States they didn't know when their birth dates were. They were too little when they left their families. They were told, 'just pick Jan. 1, and guess the year,' " said Karen Altus, a counselor at Seattle Pacific University.

Abe guessed 1982. From then on, his birthday was Jan. 1, like so many other lost boys.

But Abe knows now that's not the day he came into this world. He just came back from Kenya, where he found a long lost sister who told him his birthday is Aug. 26, 1985.

So, on Friday the staff at Seattle Pacific University threw a birthday party for Abe. They sang Happy Birthday. They told him to blow out the candles on the cake.

"With my mouth?" he asked. "Yeah" someone responded. Everyone smiled. And when Abe finally blew out all the candles everyone in the room cheered.

Abe Bol was beaming. The 20-year-old had just celebrated his first birthday.