SUNDLAND, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A McDonald's in Sunland held a fundraiser event for Karen Sydow who passed away in September and suffered from cerebral palsy. Residents and her brother, Erik Sydow showed up to support.
"Being able to see Karen with COVID was beyond difficult," said Erik Sydow. "I remember her as being very warm to me. We had a relationship that I always got a hug. It was my job to just always get a little smile out of her."
Her brother wrote an emotional obituary in the Los Angeles Times - which went viral on Twitter. Erik Sydow wrote about the three words his sister knew, one of them being 'Donalds' in reference to her favorite place McDonald's.
"If Karen was here she wouldn't care about anything other than getting her cheeseburger and her fries," said Erik Sydow. "She wouldn't observe what's going on. But she'd be happy just to be here."
The tweet caught the attention of McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Two McDonald's franchises have pledged to donate part of their sales. The McDonald's Southern California Group promised to match that up to $15,000. The Coca-Cola Company also stepped in to help during the fundraiser. They have pledged any Coca-Cola sale proceeds will be donated. All of the money raised will benefit Tierra Del Sol, a nonprofit center for people with disabilities. The nonprofit cared for Karen for over 30 years.
"Karen was a person who would walk into a room and her smile would light it up," said Rebecca Lienhard, CEO of Tierra Del Sol. "She was a woman of few words but you knew when she was happy."
Last week, the McDonald's in West Hills held a fundraiser and raised more than $8,000 for Tierra Del Sol.
"Any amount I think is beneficial and that's great," said Erik Sydow. "I want to thank everybody from my heart."