Thursday 8 December 2016

Irish teen cancer survivor sees dream of meeting 'Luke Skywalker' come true

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 16/05/2016 | 19:22

Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook

A teenager who beat cancer twice was thrilled to finally meet his hero, Star Wars star Mark Hamill, in Donegal today.

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Jamie Harkin (17) from Derry, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2011 at the age of 12, and suffered a relapse in 2013 when he was 15 years old.

He runs a popular blog, ‘Jamie’s Journie’, which aims to help other young people affected by cancer.

Despite beating the disease twice, Jamie has become seriously ill again and has been admitted to hospital many times since January of this year.

Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook

When he learned that the next Star Wars film was filming in Malin Head, he was determined to meet his hero, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

A devoted Star Wars fan since the age of three, Jamie started a social media campaign using the hashtag #StarWarsforJJ to get his favourite actor’s attention.

Yesterday, he saw his dream come true, as the Hollywood star surprised Jamie and his family with breakfast.

“I’m speechless. I don’t know how I’m ever going to write a status that will ever do justice to what just happened and how I’m feeling,” Jamie wrote on Facebook.

Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook

Read More: VIDEO: Star Wars - The force descends on a small village in Co Donegal

“I finally met my idol today. I had breakfast with Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill himself. People say that you should never meet your idols, because you build them up in your head so much that when you do meet them, they are a let down, and to that, I say, ‘You're wrong.’”

Along with his heart-warming post, he shared a selection of photos of himself chatting to Hamill, with huge smiles on both their faces.

“Mark was everything I ever imagined him to be and then some. I was feeling terrible yesterday and not much better this morning, but I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to possibly even get a glance of Mark.

Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook

“Just as I was about to discuss the newest film with Paul, little Ciaran and Caolan, he walked in completely out of the blue and I just froze. He shook hands with Caolan, Ciaran, Sinead and my dad before coming to me, and when I stood up to shake his hand he told me, ‘Sit down, you don't need to stand up for me,’” he wrote.

The actor spent an hour and half with Jamie and his family.

“He chatted to everyone for a while, before turning to me, and he told me something that I really needed to hear after the last few weeks and months that I've had. I promised myself that I wouldn't cry, but I just couldn't help it, and then Mark hugged me and as he was sitting down, I saw that he was crying too.

Read More: Seriously ill teen who has beaten cancer twice desperate to meet cast of Star Wars in Donegal

Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook
Photo: Jamie's Journie/Facebook

“Seeing him like that, in normal clothes as opposed to Jedi robes, talking about normal things as opposed to saving the galaxy, he really is an extraordinary actor, not just because he played my childhood hero, but because despite being the star of the biggest franchise ever, he is still completely down to earth, and has remained human,” Jamie said.

He went on: “Over the next hour and a half, Mark sat and chatted to all of us, telling us about ‘The good old days’ and what he's been up to recently, and as you can see in the pictures, I sat absolutely enthralled in his stories. He is one of the most charismatic, charming, and down to earth people I have ever met.”

Although Hamill had a plane to catch, he took the time to sign about 30 pieces of memorabilia for Jamie, his family and friends.

“In short, today was a dream come true. I can not put into words how incredible today was, so I would like to thank everyone who liked, shared, commented, and who was involved for arranging this as I know how much of a logistical nightmare this must have been!

“Today has been a dream come true for me since I was six, and to finally see it come true is incredible,” he wrote.

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