Make-A-Wish South Carolina has helped the dreams of another local child come true.
Payton Carraway, 6, of Aiken, received a free trip to Disneyland in California with his family. The family went on the trip earlier this month shortly after Make-A-Wish volunteers John and Debbie Haupert told them the exciting news.
Payton is an energetic, happy little boy who loves race cars, so he spent some time in Cars Land, which is an amusement park based on the Disney movie “Cars.” When the family arrived at their hotel, he could see Cars Land from the window.
“Oh, he was excited,” said his mother Stephanie Carraway. “He was beside himself with excitement.”
Payton's parents and his 7-year-old brother Gavin spent their trip enjoying amusement rides and dancing with Mickey Mouse himself.
“He was cool,” Payton said smiling.
They also had passes for other theme parks like Medieval Times and Knott's Berry Farm. Payton got VIP treatment while he was going through the parks.
Stephanie said everything was in walking distance and the trip was a lot of fun.
The highlight for Payton was seeing “Cars” main character Lightning McQueen, a personified race car.
The brothers also got to build their own toy race cars.
Anthony Carraway, Payton's father, said that the program is excellent.
“It's amazing, in general, to be able to give a kid something that we couldn't give him straight out,” Anthony said. “Being able to provide that for him, something that he wanted to do so long, is just great.”
John Haupert said that he and his wife, who have been involved in the program for several years now, enjoying having a hand in brightening a child's day.
“It's not work,” Haupert said. “It's a pleasure to do it.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Payton suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and has had three open heart surgeries, said Stephanie Carraway.
Make-A-Wish South Carolina makes an average of 140 dreams come true across the state each year.
To learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org.
Amy Banton is the County beat reporter and has been with the Aiken Standard since May 2010. She is a native of Rustburg, Va., and a graduate of Randolph Macon Woman's College.