Be Kind: 2 local companies team up, send child battling leukemia to Walt Disney World

Katherine Scott Image
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Be Kind: 2 local companies team up, send family to Disney World
Two local companies said "be our guest," sending a South Jersey family on the trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World.

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- For the Bruder family of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the last seven months seemed to come out of nowhere.

Last October, 2-year-old Cameron had COVID-19 and developed a rash. His pediatrician recommended he get checked at the emergency room.

"We went to the ER to get him checked, and they told us from there he has leukemia and that, that day will forever haunt you," said father Chris Bruder, a cyber security engineer.

"He had 400+ white blood cell count, super high. No symptoms other than he just told us he didn't feel good and that was it," Chris said.

Now, Cameron must go to an out patient clinic each weekday for treatment and blood work.

But the Bruders got a much needed break last month: a week at Walt Disney World, where Cameron could hang with Buzz and Woody, and just think about being a kid.

"We had to go to clinic twice during that period, but other than that we didn't worry about his numbers. We didn't worry about where he's at. We didn't really worry about anything. It was just great," said Chris.

Cameron's trip is the inspiration behind Pretzel Wishes, a larger effort now launched to help more families like the Bruders.

"We're always looking for what can we do next that will definitely help people," said Bob Tilton, who owns multiple Philly Pretzel Factory locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Tilton had heard about Cameron and teamed up with the Grouser family from G&G Landscaping in Columbus to send the Bruders to Disney.

They put the trip together in 36 hours, knowing Cameron only had a small window to go.

Childhood Leukemia Foundation paid for meals and plane tickets.

"He's out of chemo options. They told us we can keep trying chemos, but most likely none of them will work, based on his pattern. We had about a two week break there where they could do a chemo that will keep him bridged until his upcoming clinical trial, which is a T cell trial," said Chris.

Through 'Pretzel Wishes', Tilton and his family hope to help 10-20 families a year, raising money through their stores and with partnerships.

Tilton's father owned bakeries in Trenton and Princeton and saw the importance of giving from a young age.

"No matter what, he always gave. Whoever came in, they needed a donation, they would get a donation so it was instilled in me, that's what we do," Tilton said.

Cameron is set to start the trial later this month. His family is so grateful for that week of joy.

"It was nice to go away, not think about going to the clinic every day, and what's going on. It was just nice to go on vacation with our family and enjoy somewhere else," said Cameron's mother Christina Bruder, who is an accountant.

"Thank you for my trip. I had fun," said Cameron.