Columbia 12-year-old runs hot dog stand with parents to help pay for medical bills

Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Columbia 12-year-old is learning to walk again after waking up the morning of June 3rd unable to get out of bed.

Just a few days earlier, J.C. Williams complained of leg pain, but he and his parents chalked it up to growing pains. After he couldn’t walk because of the pain, he stayed in the hospital for a week to be surrounded by specialists who worked to determine the cause.

“Before all of this, he would spend five or six hours a day outside swimming or jumping on the trampoline,” said J.C.’s mom, Kayla Williams. “He loves riding four-wheelers, he’s just a super active child. He went from being that active to not being able to walk really quick. It was scary. It was very scary.”

Three months following his hospital stay, J.C. saw neurologists, orthopedics, pediatricians, and a chiropractor for therapy five days per week.

J.C. was in a wheelchair for one month, then moved to a rolling walker and crutches.

Now, he’s walking with a back brace, but after more than 300 doctor visits, the bills began piling up.

That’s when Kayla and her family began brainstorming ways to help ease the financial stress.

“I don’t like to just collect donations from people,” said Williams. “I like to work for what I do, and a friend of ours said, ‘Well, I have a hot dog cart!’ and we could roll with that.”

Saturday, the Williams family set up shop in front of Target on Two Notch Road.

“A friend of ours actually donated enough supplies to make 200 hot dogs, along with the chips and the water bottles. Another friend made our masks for us to be able to sell as well.”

Leftovers from the hot dog stand will be taken downtown to be donated to homeless shelters.

Kayla says the fundraiser was successful and they’re already planning a bake sale for November.

For others going through surprise medical hardships, Kayla urges advocacy.

“It’s trying,” said Williams. “And it’s mentally and emotionally wearing, especially when you are having to advocate so much because if we had not continued to push, he would not be walking right now.”

To support the Williams family and learn more about J.C.’s story, visit his website or GoFundMe page.

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