$20,000 raised for terminally ill mother’s trip to Disney World

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 17, 2013

SALISBURY — Cheryl Wyrick’s wish is coming true.

Wyrick, who has stopped treatments for a rare form of cancer, is going with her family to Walt Disney World.

She has dreamed of visiting the theme park since childhood. Once her health took a turn for the worse, she wished for the chance to create memories there with her husband and young boys.

Family, friends and strangers emptied their pockets and their attics to make sure Wyrick got her wish.

A Saturday yard sale to benefit the family raised $20,240.50 — far more than they need for the vacation.

She and her husband, Daniel; their two sons, Damon, 2, and Aiden, 6; and her sister-in-law plan to leave Feb. 23 for Orlando, Fla. They will spend a few days in Disney World.

“God has truly blessed me,” Wyrick said. “Thank you to everybody for everything, even the littlest bit. Thank you.”

Relatives Hilda Goodman and Teresa Harrison, along with other loved ones, rushed to organize the fundraiser. They said that after the Disney trip is paid for, the rest of the money will go directly to Wyrick to help pay her medical bills and other final expenses.

“I’m blessed to be able to be part of seeing this miracle unfold,” Goodman said. “And it is a miracle. Who makes $20,000 at a yard sale?”

When Wyrick visited the fundraiser Saturday, several people pressed cash and checks into her hands and shared words of encouragement.

“It’s awesome,” Wyrick said. “It’s incredible. I never imagined I was worth this much. I don’t know why people are doing this for me.”

Jeannie Misenheimer, of Rockwell, donated first-class airplane tickets for the family.

Robin Troutman of Salisbury raised money to make resort reservations and buy four-day park passes.

Troutman, a Sunday School teacher, said Wyrick and her sister, Rita, were both in her class.

“Cheryl is one of the most deserving women that I know,” she said. “She’s a strong, loving woman and a good mother, and if anybody deserves this, it’s her.”

At the yard sale Saturday, Troutman stood in line with a box of superhero-themed toys for her grandson, 4-year-old Caden Lowrance. She also picked up a few items for herself.

“This is a blessing,” Troutman said. “All the support, all the caring and all the giving is so greatly appreciated.”

Wyrick has a rare form of cancer called desmoplastic small-round-cell tumors, also known as DSRCT.

She does not have life insurance. She has been living on food stamps and Medicaid since October, when she became too sick to keep working at the Kangaroo Gas Station in China Grove.

Her liver is now failing, and doctors have said she has just weeks to live.

Harrison, Wyrick’s cousin, said the idea for a yard sale originally came from Melissa Utley, owner of the Dairy Queen on Innes Street. The fund raiser was scheduled to take place in the parking lot.

But when Saturday forecasts called for snow, the organizers looked to take the sale indoors, and Southside Baptist Church in Salisbury offered its fellowship hall.

A volunteer stayed at Dairy Queen during the start of the yard sale to redirect people to the new location.

The day’s heavy snow showers didn’t start until the afternoon, but light flurries continued on and off throughout the morning.

“People are coming even with the snow,” Harrison said. “We’ve been so blessed. It kind of tears me up to see so many people care.”

Goodman, the aunt of Wyrick’s sister-in-law, said she has never put together a yard sale before, and she’s not a big yard sale shopper.

“I said, ‘Lord, you’ve got to help me,’ and he did,” Goodman said.

She and her husband, Gary, have been collecting, sorting and pricing donated items for several days. Goodman had to rent storage space to contain it all.

People continued to bring boxes of sale items on Saturday morning. As the tables emptied, volunteers put out the new arrivals and came up with prices at the register.

Any items remaining may be used for a second sale, and Goodman said she has received calls from people wanting to give more in the future.

“Rowan County is just wonderful. They did this, not me,” Goodman said. “I would see people come in, buy something for a quarter and put $100 in the jar.”

Goodman said a young girl, 5 or 6 years old, took $100 out of her piggy bank to give to Cheryl and her family. Her mother matched the donation.

One man, who didn’t want to be named, donated $1,000 in honor of his wife. He said he lost her recently to leukemia.

Many other yard salers said they came because their friends or relative have battled cancer, and Wyrick’s story struck home for them.

Janella Hannold, of Salisbury, said her four-year-old cousin has leukemia, and the family has put on similar fund raisers to benefit her.

“When we see stuff like this to help people with cancer, we like to help out,” Hannold said.

She and her husband, Greg, bought several items, including children’s clothes and a set of coasters stacked inside a piano-shaped holder.

John Garrison, of Granite Quarry, said his mother and father both died of cancer, along with a family friend.

“It’s sad enough when an older person dies of cancer, but when it’s a young person, it’s really heartbreaking,” Garrison said. “We wanted to come and see if we could help.”

Garrison and his wife, Mona, picked up an egg dish, a step stool, some tennis balls and a few western-themed movies.

Mona Garrison said she’s a big yard saler and is always looking for unique items, but that’s only part of the reason she came out on Saturday.

“Mostly, I just wanted to help the family,” she said, “and be able to make their wish come true.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

Twitter: twitter.com/posteducation

Facebook: facebook.com/Karissa.SalisburyPost