Jonathan's Story

The 2011 Children's Hospital Sun Fun Carnival wasn't just a good time for Jonathan Drake - it changed his life. 

Born without an esophagus, 2-year-old Jonathan Drake had never eaten a meal until the 2011 Children's Hospital Sun Fun Carnival. His nutrition always had been delivered by a feeding tube.

Jonathan has had multiple surgeries and nearly lost his life several times. When relatives in the Upstate told the Drake family that a GHS pediatric surgeon, Randel Abrams, M.D., might be able to treat his condition, they relocated from New Jersey for Jonathan’s care.

On June 6, Dr. Abrams removed scar tissue from previous surgeries from Jonathan’s chest and neck and fashioned an esophagus from a segment of the boy’s intestine. The surgery was a complete success.

Just four days later at the Sun Fun Carnival, Jonathan took his first bite of food, a raspberry snow cone. He swallowed his first taste, made a strange expression – and then rubbed his tummy!

Jonathan knew something was different, though he was too young to understand how much his life was about to change. From now on, he would be a normal, healthy boy – and raspberry-flavored snow cones were just the beginning.

Your support of Children’s Hospital helps make miracles like Jonathan’s possible. In fact, Virtual Toy Drive (VTD) donors completely funded the Sun Fun Carnival this year. Their gifts to the carnival provided the games and food stands, including the snow cone machine.

Thank you, VTD donors, for being a part of Jonathan’s miracle! 

Get Involved

If you'd like more information on supporting patients and families, contact Philanthropy & Partnership Director of Children's Services Crissy Maynard at (864) 797-7735 or

Donate to Children's Hospital's Carnival