WHEN Hollywood star Kevin Spacey shook hands with 15-year-old Orla Jackman this week, it was just part of a dream come true for the Irish teenager.
Orla, who beat leukaemia and then raised €50,000 for cancer charities, was in Washington on a trip giving recognition to "outstanding volunteer work".
"It's been just unbelievable and more," the Carlow schoolgirl told the Herald.
"One year ago I never would have thought I'd be here," she added, speaking from her Washington DC Hotel.
Orla's trip coincides with the first anniversary of the end of her two years of cancer treatment.
As part of their all paid expense trip to the US, the Tullow native and 17-year-old Leigha Coade, from Armagh, who has cystic fibrosis, joined other top youth volunteers from across the US and the world for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Ceremony in Washington organised through Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd.
"We got here at 3pm on Friday and it's just been fantastic. Kevin Spacey came to meet us in the Museum of Natural History and have a talk about how to succeed and his own experiences.
"We only had a few minutes with him but he told the two of us that we were doing great work and to keep it going," Orla added.
"It's a very tight schedule but we've been shopping and we visited an elementary school where we donated books."
For Orla the highlight of the trip was "a river-boat cruise and a gala dinner".
On their way home the girls were stopping off for a guided tour of the inside of the White House.