HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Houston-area relatives of an Ohio boy who got sick mid-cruise and is now stuck in Mexico hope people will continue to help until he and his mother are back stateside.
Christie Johnson took her three children on a cruise on Monday. The single mother drove the family from Ohio to New Orleans, where they boarded the Carnival ship.
By Tuesday, her 12-year-old son Peyton fell ill. The mother left her two other children with relatives on the ship and disembarked with Peyton in Mexico where he was diagnosed with appendicitis. They had no passports and very little money.
"She had $21 on her," said Steve Johnson, Peyton's great uncle who lives outside Alvin.
The hospital wouldn't operate, Johnson says, without payment up front.
"I can't imagine the fear wondering if her son's going to be OK," said Melanie Johnson, Steve's wife.
Family members managed to raise enough money for the operation.
By Saturday afternoon, mother and her son should be flying into Houston for treatment at a Texas Medical Center hospital. They won't be home in Ohio just yet, but they'll be closer.
"Prognosis looks good," said Steve Johnson.
The family says friends, strangers and even Carnival has contributed to Peyton's online fundraising page, but the bills keep mounting.
Click here for more information or to contribute, visit Peyton's GoFunMe page.