Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Akilah Doyle had a big, exciting secret to keep from her son Tyler, and she had to hold it in since December.
But Friday night it all came out, when Tyler learned that Make-a-Wish South Carolina was sending him and his family to Disney World for a week.
Tyler, 12, has sickle cell disease, which distorts red blood cells into a crescent shape that resembles a sickle and can cause anemia, infections and painful episodes.
His wish week started with a limousine ride to Applebee’s, his favorite restaurant. When he arrived, he discovered it was a send-off dinner for his week at Disney World.
Charleston-area Applebee’s restaurants had rallied to Tyler’s wish, soliciting donations from patrons at the seven area locations and raising $10,000 in less than a month, said area manager Daniel Farra.
The N. Main Street Summerville location alone raised $2,500, he said.
Applebee’s has been partnering with Make-a-Wish in South Carolina since 2001 and has raised over $1 million in that time, but Tyler’s wish was the first time Lowcountry restaurants participated, Farra said.
Tyler was overwhelmed at the attention. There were teary eyes amongst the wait staff as he bashfully listened as Make-a-Wish board member Jennifer Leak and Farra explained how the staff had worked to raise funds so he could go to Disney.
He said he was looking forward to riding the teacups.