Unfortunately, Brittney Griner celebrated her 32nd birthday from behind Russian prison bars.
On Tuesday (Oct. 18), the WNBA star released a statement to PEOPLE, overwhelmed with messages and letters from friends, family, and fans alike.
“Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home,” she expressed through her attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov. “All the support and love are definitely helping me.”
The Phoenix Mercury player reportedly received an immense volume of birthday love from “both athletes and regular people all around the world” on her special day, her lawyers told the outlet.
“Today is of course a difficult day for Brittney,” Blagovolina stated. “Not only this is her birthday in jail away from her family, teammates and friends, but she is very stressed in anticipation of the appeal hearing.”
She added, “Griner is very strong… you can imagine because she is all alone in jail in a foreign country.”
Griner’s legal team mentioned that despite her very serious appeal hearing that is coming up, she “very much appreciates the support and love she’s been getting,” and was really happy to receive the letters.
“She feels the support,” they added.
Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, shared a picture on Instagram captioned with a heartfelt message: “Happy Birthday to my favorite person! [white heart] Missing your company even more today! #WeAreBG.”
In support of Griner and to connect her fans from all over the world, her agent has launched the #WeareBG campaign that will serve as a portal for fans to send messages to the basketball star via WeAreBG.org.
Brittney Griner’s Russian court appeal hearing is scheduled for Tuesday (Oct. 25).