[Press Release - August 13, 2003] “He couldn’t run, jump and climb like the other kids,” said Georganna describing her son Kenny’s symptoms 12 years ago. After medical tests, it was revealed that he had Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, a progressive, debilitating disease that affects mostly males. Now age 17, Kenny is confined to a wheelchair with absolutely no use of his legs and limited use of his arms and hands. Remarkably, Georganna said that despite having to rely on her for almost everything, Kenny is fairly accepting of his limits. “He adjusts pretty well overall, but every now and then he gets upset about not being able to drive or hang out and do the same things as his friends,” she said.
However, since he recently got to hang out with the multi-platinum rock group Linkin Park, Kenny’s friends might now be envious of him. Not only was Kenny a guest at one of the band’s concerts in Wichita, but he also had a meet and greet with the entire group, courtesy of Kids Wish Network, a charity that grants wishes for children suffering with life threatening illnesses. After discovering the organization’s name in an MS publication, Georganna contacted the organization and submitted Kenny for a wish-come-true.
Kenny’s Wish Coordinator started things off by contacting Warner Bros. Records, arranging meals for Kenny while in Wichita, and securing deluxe accommodations for this Linkin Park fan’s entire family.
“It is his favorite band and it was exciting for him to meet somebody famous,” said Georganna about why he chose this as his wish.
Hours before the concert began; Kenny was taken to a private room to spend time with the rockers. Although his mother describes him as quiet, Kenny had no trouble keeping up his end of the conversation with the band.
“They were so nice and talkative,” said Georganna of the band members. “They asked Kenny what kinds of things he was interested in and he told them he liked art and that seemed to strike a chord with them. They just had a good conversation with him.”
The group knew that the following day was Kenny’s birthday, so they surprised him with a gift bag full of Linkin Park souvenirs, including CDs, t-shirts, special edition vinyls, and autographed photographs and drumsticks.
Though the meet and greet had to come to an end, the fun had only begun as Kenny was taken to his seat in the Kansas Coliseum to watch his new friends perform all of his favorite songs.
“It was his first concert and he loved it,” Georganna said.
In addition to the concert, Kenny also visited the zoo, celebrated his birthday with a guitar-shaped cake, and received wonderful gifts and perks from the Hilton hotel where he stayed.
“It was just excellent, he had such a good time,” said Georganna of her son’s whole wish.
Part of what made it so special was that the band members were even nicer than they had imagined.
“They came in the room and right away realized that it was difficult for Kenny to reach up to shake their hands, so they reached down to shake his hand,” she said. “It was just wonderful to see Kenny smile like that. I thank Kids Wish Network for doing something for kids that makes them feel so good for a while.”
Kids Wish Network would like to send a shout out to all of the sponsors who rocked Kenny’s world: Warner Bros. Records, Hilton Wichita Airport Executive Conference Center, Sedgwick County Zoo, Filipe’s Restaurant, Cake & Cookie Creations, and of course all the guys of Linkin Park.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose primary 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