Tyler, 14, of Valley Grande, Al. was diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome at the age of seven-years-old. Tyler loves spending time with his family so when it came time for him to choose what his wish was going to be he knew he wanted his family with him. Tyler wished for a pop-up camper that would allow him and his family time to be together.
They were on their way to a weekend of camping at Lake Martin in Alabama when they made an unscheduled stop at the Prattville Zaxby’s for lunch. Waiting inside of Zaxby’s was Make-A-Wish Alabama’s Director of Communications and Marketing, Bryant Somerville, staged as a “production assistant” in charge of taping a commercial for the upcoming college football season. After a little convincing, Tyler decided that he and his family would participate in the commercial that was going to be promoting Zaxby’s college football tailgating specials. Burton Campers and Zaxby’s helped to make Tyler’s selfless dream come true.
“The Make-A-Wish Foundation is in the business of creating memories and Make-A-Wish Alabama today, I think, gave Tyler and his family a memory that will last a lifetime,” Make-A-Wish Alabama President and CEO, Pam Jones, said.
Make-A-Wish Alabama Board Member and Zaxby’s Licensee, Brandon Miller, had never been a part of a wish reveal and wanted to be a part of this one at his store.
“This is what it’s all about,” Miller said.
After realizing the “commercial” was only a set-up to get him outside, Tyler became overcome with emotion.
“I like being with my family so it brings me close together with my family,” Tyler said.
“I’ve seen him at his worst and I’ve seen what it’s done and then when he gets emotional, that’s when it hurts,” Tyler’s mother, Stacey, said.
Tyler having the opportunity to light up and have so much joy is what makes Make-A-Wish® what it is.
“It means the world to us seeing him light up and cry, it brings tears to our eyes because it really is the fulfillment of his one true, heartfelt wish,” Make-A-Wish Alabama’s Volunteer Manager, Sarah Hall, said.
Tyler sums up the day and everybody’s emotions by saying “it just makes me happy.”
Tyler’s wish is one of hundreds of wishes that Make-A-Wish Alabama has granted since September of 2012. Last year, 130 wishes were granted. In 2014, at least 140 wishes are expected to be granted.