More than 300 family, friends and strangers came out Sunday morning to a sold-out pancake breakfast fundraiser at Applebee's in Hatfield for 12-year-old Matthew Knoebel, a Lansdale boy battling leukemia at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The event was organized by Upper Gwynedd resident Shannon McNally, and Knoebel's aunts, Mary Aderman, of Lansdale, and Kellie Simpson, of Upper Gwynedd.
"There have been a lot of people coming in that don't even know Matthew," McNally said. "It spread from word of mouth."
McNally and company sold 300 tickets at $8 for adults and $5 for children.
"The outpouring of love and support for this family is amazing," McNally said.
Applebee's has been fabulous, she said, in accommodating everyone.
"The pancakes were delicious," said attendee Michelle Hynes, of Haverford.
"The service was great," said Janet Swaim, of Upper Gwynedd. "It was wonderful."
Aderman said the turnout was amazing.
"We live in a great community. It's nice that everybody could come together to support a local family like this," she said. "I think it's awesome Applebee's does things like this. It's a great way to help our family."
Aderman said a couple of people even showed up Sunday just to drop off money.
"Matthew and (his mother) Chrissy (Simpson) are so excited," she said.
Tom Coughlin, fiance of Simpson, said that while everyone was enjoying pancakes and sausage at Applebee's, Knoebel was enjoying the same at CHOP.
"A big thank you to everyone that came out and supported this," Coughlin said. "The support from beginning to end is overwhelming."
He said Knoebel is doing well at CHOP. Knoebel had just finished up his treatment for the most recent round of chemotherapy at the same time of the breakfast fundraiser.
"He'll be in the hospital for about another four weeks," Coughlin said, "up until January 11, his birthday."
Coughlin said Simpson and Knoebel wished they could have been there on Sunday — and in a way they were, thanks to Skype.