Youngster sees wishes come true

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Thirteen-year-old Byron Clark experienced the greatest thrill ofhis young life last Sunday, thanks in part to the Make-A-WishFoundation of Mississippi.

Byron, a seventh grade student at North Pike Middle School inSummit, suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia. His dream was to have aparty for his friends and a drum set. Make-A-Wish made that dream areality.

“The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi grants wishes tochildren who suffer from life-threatening or terminal illnesses,”said Holly Perkins, a Brookhaven resident and Make-A-Wish wishgranter. “We’ve made wishes come true for over 80 children in thestate this year, and Byron is one of them.”

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Perkins said the idea began when some of Byron’s medical workersfrom University Medical Center in Jackson had contacted Make-A-Wishin hopes of making his dream come true. Perkins was responsible forcoordinating the event and put together a party at Pizza Hut inMcComb for Byron and his friends and family.

“We try to fill every wish possible,” said Perkins. “Therequirement is that they have a life-threatening illness, and theyare between the ages of 2 and 18.”

The culmination of Byron’s wish came when Premiere Limousine inHattiesburg arrived to take the youngster and his friends on a rideback to his house where, awaiting in the garage, was the drum sethe had wished for.

“I didn’t expect the drums so soon,” said an ecstatic Byron. “Ihad told Holly that my wish was for one, but I didn’t expect ittoday. When we drove up and I saw it, I was ready to get out andplay it.”

Byron’s parents, Bobby and Lourie, were beaming from ear to earwith excitement for their child.

“It’s great to have something like Make-A-Wish for unfortunatechildren,” said Lourie. “You can tell by the look on Byron’s facethat he is happy about the whole thing. We’ve struggled with hissituation for a while, and you have such a good feeling whensomeone decides to do something nice for someone.”

Byron’s dad echoed the sentiments of the entire family.

“I’m proud of my son and thankful to all the people involved inmaking his wish come true,” said Bobby. “With Christmas upon us,this is a perfect gift for the occasion and the season.”

Chesnutt-Wall Nissan of Brookhaven sponsored Byron’s wish withthe money they raised to donate to Jackson radio station’s Y101.7Radio-thon, and Roseberry’s Music in Hattiesburg provided the drumset.

“Brookhaven Music and Sound Company donated their time to set upByron’s drum set at his home while he was at his wish party withhis family and friends,” added Perkins, “and Pizza Hut put togetherthe party.”

Casey Traxler, a Wish Coordinator for Make-A-Wish of Mississippiwas extremely pleased with the outcome of Byron’s wish.

“We do our best to make those wishes possible and it gives you awarm feeling when you know you’ve accomplished that goal,” saidTraxler.