EVERGREEN-When you are seven years old, life is supposed to be easy and uncomplicated. But for an adorable young boy named James, life is anything but simple. He has a very serious heart complication, called complete a-v canal, which means he was born with a hole in the middle of his heart and he has had to have numerous surgeries for it. In addition to this, he also suffers from Down syndrome, an absent thyroid gland, congenital heart disease, and a very severe colon disease. James must use oxygen and a breathing machine. His life is full of uncertainty and doctor’s appointments. But no matter how bad this little boy might feel, there is one thing that brightens his day: his favorite rap artist, Lil Bow Wow. “He started watching videos with his older brother, “ said his mother, Ella. “Then one day he just jumped up and said ‘bow wow wow’.”
Now whenever anybody asks him what he wants, he just laughs and says, “Lil Bow Wow.” So when Wish Coordinator Madeline Robinson of Kids Wish Network heard about little James and his absolute love of the 14-year-old rap star, she quickly wrote a song just for James’ ears. It started with a drive to Atlanta where Lil Bow Wow has a recording studio. The first day in town, James and his family spent time at Zoo Atlanta in historic Grant Park. That night, young James was treated to a night of pizza and games at Chuck E. Cheese. “He went through all the tunnels, and down into all of the balls in the pit,” Ella said. “I was afraid all the bigger kids were going to hurt him, but he just kept grinning at me like it was nothing.” After he wore out his entire family, they went back to the hotel to rest up for the day he’d been waiting for: his meet and greet with Lil Bow Wow.
It started with a surprise limousine ride from the hotel to the star’s studio. “We saw the limo pull up, but we had no idea it was for us,” Ella said. Soon they were at Lil Bow Wow’s Atlanta recording studio, but it took James a few minutes to warm up to his hero. “At first I’m not sure he recognized him because he wasn’t dressed like he is in his videos and James is used to him singing,” Ella said. But soon, James ran right up to him and gave him the hand made gift he brought for him. The studio also has an indoor basketball court where Lil Bow Wow invited little James to join him in a game of hoops. “Lil Bow Wow was just wonderful with James, always doing something with him or talking to him, showing him how to shoot the ball,” Ella said. After all he did for James, the young star even signed posters, autographed photos, and took pictures with James and his family. “He spent over an hour with James,” Ella said. “It was just wonderful.” From there, the family finished the evening at the Hard Rock Café where they were treated like royalty and the kids were given t-shirts.
Ella said that even though James has spent the majority of his life in the hospital and has had many surgeries, most people don’t realize how sick he truly is. “You just don’t believe it because he gets around so well,” she said. But this wish was important to both James and his mother. “After spending so much time in the hospital, James is afraid of a lot of things, like some animals or just being outside,” Ella said. “So this was just a wonderful experience,” Ella said. “I’d like to thank Kids Wish Network and Madeline for everything they did. We will never forget the dream she made come true for James.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank all of its gracious sponsors for making James’ dream come true: Jim Peace Motors, the Wyndham Hotel Atlanta, the Zoo Atlanta, Chuck E. Cheese, the Hard Rock Café in Atlanta, and Carey Limo. And of course, our special thanks to Lil Bow Wow and Lucy at Artistic Control for making James feel like the star for the day.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of their wish granting services, please call (813)891-9374 or toll free at (888)918-9004. You can also visit its web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.