The thought of a child being given only weeks to live is absolutely heartbreaking. The thought of that same child being denied his dying wish is heartbreaking beyond words. Sadly, that's what nearly happened to 10-year-old Oliver Burton of Leicester, UK. Diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 3, Oliver, who also has Down syndrome, recently had a severe relapse -- an untreatable relapse, according to his doctors. Devastated but determined to make their son's final days the best of his short life, Oliver's parents vowed to spend the rest of his time checking off items on his "wish list."
What Oliver wanted more than anything was to visit the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, his family was told this wouldn't be possible.
As for why this wouldn't be possible, no explanation has been given (although whatever it is, I doubt it's a good enough reason for saying "no" to a dying 10-year-old). But thanks to the National Children’s Tumor Leukemia Cancer Trust and actress/amazing human being Helen Mirren, it doesn't matter.
See, Mirren happens to be playing the Queen right now in her West End play, The Audience. So she graciously agreed to play the Queen for Oliver, too.
First, Oliver got to ride in a stretch limo from his home to London to see Mirren's play, then he and his parents were invited backstage for tea and biscuits with Mirren (still in full costume and makeup) and the corgis from the show!
"She stayed in character for the whole thing," said Oliver's dad, James Browne, of Mirren. "Oliver thought she was the real Queen, and well, that's good enough for us."
Mirren even knighted Oliver "Sir Oliver"!
I absolutely adore Helen Mirren and the National Children's Tumor Leukemia Cancer Trust. Not because they made a dying boy's dream come true, but because the reality they gave Oliver was even better than his wildest dreams: I'm sure that the love, attention, and warmth Oliver experienced meeting the "Queen" was a million times more than what he would have experienced meeting the Queen.
Do you think Helen Mirren made Oliver's dying wish come true?
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