A North Carolina community raised money to buy a pontoon boat for a 12-year-old boy fighting cancer, after the Make-A-Wish Foundation allegedly rejected his request.
Isaac Rodriguez is fighting brain cancer and a rare skin disorder called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. His family has raised more than $4,000 using a GoFundMe account since August 2019.
Rodriguez first requested the pontoon boat through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but the organization rejected his request because it would not give a child a boat with an engine larger than 25 HP, Yahoo News reported. The organization reportedly tried to make up for it by trying to provide a boat without an engine.
When Rodriguez’s wish was not granted, Todd Willis, the owner of Neuse River Bait and Tackle in Grantsboro, organized a separate GoFundMe account to make Rodriguez’s wish come true.
The fundraiser has made more than $31,000 as of Tuesday afternoon, and Willis surprised Rodriguez and his family with raising money for the boat.
“We were raising money for Isaac to get a pontoon boat. Guess what? We’ve been keeping it a secret the whole time,” Willis said into the camera aboard the boat.
Rodriguez, who had no idea about the surprise, was grinning from ear-to-ear when he settled into his own seat on the boat.