A local restaurant owner and his wife are reaching out to the public to help an employee who has had a tragic week.
Samantha Vickers lost her 2-year-old son Monday. Javion Williams died from what Clarendon County Deputy Coroner Charles Jackson called a "bacterial infection."
"We've been trying to do what we can to help her," said Andy Stout, owner of the Shoney's restaurant where Vickers is an employee. Donna Stout, Andy's wife, set up a GoFundMe account to help Vickers with funeral expenses as well as other expenses - like medical bills - brought on by Javion's illness.
Vickers told The Manning Times earlier in the week that Javion had been unable to keep food down, had been complaining of a pain in the back of his head and had a high fever on Sunday. She said he'd had symptoms off-and-on for several days, and that she'd been trying to give him Pedialyte, Pediasure and Gatorade.
She said nothing helped, and she and the boy's grandmother took Javion to a nearby hospital.
"They told me he had the flu," she said. "I didn't think it was the flu. They gave him some Tylenol and sent him home. I asked them, please, not to send my baby home, that he was really sick."
Monday, the child was no better. In fact, he was much worse, with a fever in excess of 104. Vickers called 911.
"(EMS) wouldn't let me ride in the ambulance; they told me they would try everything they could to help him," Vickers said.
When she got to the hospital, she was unable to see her son. A doctor came out minutes later and told her Javion, who was soon to turn 3, had died. An autopsy showed Thursday that the child had a bacterial infection. Jackson did not specify what type of infection.
Stout said that Vickers did not have the funds for funeral expenses. The child's funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at Samuels Funeral Home. At that time, the Stouts will present the funeral home with funds to cover that expense, about $2,300 they've raised from the GoFundMe page.
"We've had a lot of people donate, and that's been really great to see," Stout said. "We want to help her out as much as we can. She's one of the happiest and fun people I've ever been around. She doesn't have a lot. She lives down the road in the apartment complex, and she walks to work. She's always in a positive state of mind."
Vickers said Friday that she was able to see her son at rest before his cremation.
"I was able to say, 'Goodbye,' to him, and I'm at peace with that," she said.
The GoFundMe page for Javion Williams may be found by visiting www.gofundme.com/funeral-expenses-for-javion-william.
Sharon J. Hall contributed to this story.