Thanks to one popular TikTok creator using her massive following for good, a family’s wish went viral and came actually true. The internet using its powers for good — always a nice change!
After posting a “long shot” request to a Disney Facebook group, Jennifer Patchin, threw out the request that, if anyone was attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that evening, to please treat her ten-year-old son, Drew Patchin, who has has ependymoma, a rare kind of brain tumor, and his younger brother, Tyler, as if they were celebrities while at they were at the park.
The family, including aunt Debbie Schultz, Jennifer’s sister, wanted to give Drew and Tyler the best Disney World park visit they could, so that they felt special. Thankfully, that’s where Kristen Sotakoun, @notkahnjunior, came in.
Sotakoun saw the Facebook post and sent out a message to her 1.1 million followers, asking them to help make this family’s simple wish come true by acting as if the two boys were uber famous. She also called on Disney World cast members to play along.
“Red alert, red alert! If you are a cast member at Walt Disney World, or you are someone who is going to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tonight at Magic Kingdom, Friday, September 29th, I need your help,” Sotakoun says in her original video.
“If you see Drew and his brother Tyler, pretend that they are famous and say hi to them. This is so wonderful and this is so easy to accomplish.”
The rest, as you can imagine, is Disney magic history.
In an update video, which gained 7.5 million views, Sotakoun shared just how mich Schultz’s ask for her sons came true with cast members, characters, and park goers all freaking out when coming across the two boys as if they were a-list celebrities.
Schultz told NBC News that in less than 10 minutes after arriving at the park, Drew was approached by a cast member for an autograph. She said the family was then stopped every 15 minutes by people who recognized Drew and Tyler.
“It was over seven hours of people making a big deal over them and going, ‘Oh my gosh! You’re famous, I get to see you. I’ve been waiting for you. I’m so glad I got to see you.’ And then snapping selfies with them or giving them a sticker,” she said.
“Drew and Tyler are here! ✨” the official Disney Parks TikTok account commented on the video.
“I was the photographer that took their pictures with power line max!! Such a special moment, so glad I got to meet the famous Drew and Tyler,” a Disney World employee wrote.
One user wrote, “Let’s shower them with more magic! Go fund me?! What else do they need!?!”
Sotakoun shared a link to the family’s donation website where the public can donate to Drew’s medical fund as well as the family’s P.O. box so that the kids can receive fan mail.
Sotakoun — who is actually a former Disney World cast member — said that most of the support stemmed from social media, rather than her connections at the park.
“This was completely the result of TikTok and completely the result of sharing on social media. I didn’t ask my personal friends for any special treatment. This is 100% organically the power of people coming together on social media and having one goal of kindness,” Sotakoun said.
Just one small act of Disney magic has made a huge difference in the Patchin family’s life, and Patchin says that making all these special memories during such a hard fight makes all the difference in their spirits.
“Pediatric cancer families go through really hard stuff and something like this can make such a difference in our mindset and attitude. We’re trying to make memories, have a special time together and stay helpful and positive. And this, both the night as it was happening and those reactions online, really make a difference in helping us in the fight,” Patchin said.