Tuesday 27 September 2016

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

Teen cancer survivor's dream to meet Star Wars cast and hero Luke Skywalker during Episode 8 Donegal film scenes

Published 13/05/2016 | 20:07

"Jamie, Ciaran, Caolan" The first time Jamie met the boys, after sending them to a private screening of The Force Awakens, as Ciaran wouldn't have been able to go otherwise, due to his immune system being low
The day Jamie organised along with the Emerald Garrison to pay a little visit to Ciaran's house. Jamie is the one wearing the Darth Vader costume. Courtesy of GC Photographics
Jamie and Little Sister Faith. Jamie's "Little Princess Faith" visiting him the last time he was in hospital a few weeks ago
Jamie presented Caolan and his father, Paul with the custom Lightsabers from Saberforge which were bought and tailored to suit both Caolan and his little brother Ciaran

He's defeated cancer twice and now all this brave teenager from Northern Ireland wants is to meet his idols - the cast of Star Wars, who just so happen to have touched down in Ireland to film the latest installment of the blockbuster series.

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Jamie Harkin was diagnosed in June 2011 with Hodgkins Lmphoma cancer and suffered a relapse in January 2013.

Having beaten the disease twice in five years, the 17-year-old has been seriously ill since January this year.

However, the determined teenager has taken it all in his stride and set up Jamie's Journie, a community to help those in the north west suffering from cancer, raising over €20,000.

Jamie and Little Sister Faith. Jamie's
Jamie and Little Sister Faith. Jamie's "Little Princess Faith" visiting him the last time he was in hospital a few weeks ago

He has set up many experiences in the community to help other young people.

Jamie has been a Star Wars fan since he was three and always aspired to direct the films with one of his dreams being to cross lightsabres with the cast.

And it just so happens that the likes of Luke Skywalker, Rey and Kylo Ren - instead of being a galaxy far, far away - are actually remarkably close.

Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver were snapped arriving at Belfast International Airport on Friday morning.

Jamie presented Caolan and his father, Paul with the custom Lightsabers from Saberforge which were bought and tailored to suit both Caolan and his little brother Ciaran
Jamie presented Caolan and his father, Paul with the custom Lightsabers from Saberforge which were bought and tailored to suit both Caolan and his little brother Ciaran

While the iconic Millennium Falcon has docked at Malin Head in Co Donegal.

Mum Patricia says Jamie is the biggest Star Wars fan in the galaxy and so she launched an appeal to get the actor's attention using the hashtag #StarWarsForJJ on social media.

Read More: Luke Skywalker, Rey, and Kylo Ren arrive in Ireland ahead of Star Wars episode eight filming

The as-yet-untitled Star Wars Episode VIII is filming just out of view of Jamie's Derry house which is right on the border, his mother said.

Should he get to meet the cast, the selfless teenager who is studying for his GCSES, doesn't want it just for him, rather he wants it for the others in his Jamie's Journie community.

Among them is little Ciaran Murphy who turns two next week, he was diagnosed with leukaemia last summer and loves all things Star Wars.

The little boy is back in hospital and will be for the next number of weeks and Jamie would love to have something sorted for the his birthday on Thursday.

Read More: Donegal's Force: Can the north-west exploit its Star Wars potential?

Patricia said: "We didn't even think about Star Wars coming here because Jamie has been so sick. If Jamie had have been better, he would have been doing this for Jamie's Journie's kids himself.

"I put up a public appeal the other day, and overnight there was more than 20,000 views.

"Jamie has been a massive fan of Star Wars since he was three and when he turns 18 he plans to join the Emerald Garrison to visit sick children as Luke Skywalker."

Last year Jamie dressed up as Darth Vader and arranged for members of the Emerald Garrison - a Star Wars-themed costume club which raises money for charity - to visit one little Ciaran, one of the youngest members of the Jamie Journie family.

Now with the cast of Star Wars arriving in Northern Ireland and being so close, Patricia said the appeal is just something they needed to do.

"They are on our doorstep," she said, "We have all these amazing kids that have been through so much and are going through so much.

"We just really want to get Jamie and some of the kids, even to go on set, just something.

"It's just so close and it's such a dream. It's never going to happen again.

"Jamie wants it for him and some of the kids. They are as mad about Star Wars as he is.

"He's been so ill since January and it would be good for all the kids."

She added: "With him being so sick of late, I thought maybe it's time that somebody pushed for something for him."

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