by Emily Luxen
Nashville, Tenn. – Students at Lipscomb University came together to make a 3-year-old cancer patient from Antioch's dream vacation a reality.
Members of the Pi Delta social club worked for months to raise money, plan and coordinate the surprise with the Make-A-Wish organization. They collected $7,500 through multiple fundraisers so Rayan Abidi and his family can enjoy a free trip to Disney World.
Pi Delta takes on a community service project each year, but members said this one was different.
"We've never taken on something like this," said Farley. "This is the biggest thing we've done. It's been awesome."
Before Abidi and his family found out they were going to Disney World, students led them on a Disney-themed treasure hunt around campus. They stopped in rooms decorated in the spirit of Cars, Up, Peter Pan, Monsters, Inc. and Winnie the Pooh. Each Pi Delta pledge class decorated and coordinated a room.
"Just the fact that we get to grant this little boy a wish and he gets to do something amazing that we paid for. It's unreal," said Shelby Farley, a member of the Pi Delta club.
One of the tour guides for the Abidi family was Camille Fraser, a Lipscomb student and former Make-A-Wish recipient, who has always dreamed of fulfilling another person's wish.
"They are such a sweet family and they're loving it," said Fraser. "It makes us happy. This has been a wish of mine for some time, so I'm really excited."
When the Abidi family completed the treasure hunt, Lipscomb students surprised Rayan with Mickey Mouse ears and news they were headed to Disney World.
Abidi was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at 10 months old. He endured multiple rounds of treatment at Monroe Carell Jr.'s Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and his cancer is currently in remission.
He will travel to Disney World with his parents and older brother on May 9 for a week-long vacation.