Patrick Stewart made one young person the envy of all Star Trek fans. 11-year old Dawn Garrigus, who suffers from a mitochondrial disease that causes physical, mental, and developmental disabilities, got the chance of a lifetime to meet Sir Patrick Stewart backstage at Dragon Con. Patrick Stewart played Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation, becoming an icon for the venerated franchise.
The encounter was made possible through luck and kindness. Dawn received a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and her dream was to attend the convention. She attended wearing a Spock costume from the original Star Trek series. Stewart was scheduled to make an appearance there to discuss his work on Star Trek on the very same day. When the actor heard a Star Trek fan from the foundation was there, he invited Dawn backstage for a meet and greet.
That's where the magic happened.
Dawn told the Huffington Post in an email,
"I was shy at first, not sure what to say or talk about, but he kept talking to me. I felt like I was on the Enterprise talking to the captain. And suddenly, I was OK."The parents followed up saying that day was the happiest they've seen their young Star Trek fan in some time.
It turns out that a meeting from Captain Picard can have quite the healing effect. Dawn's parents said,
"We have seen a very positive response. Her illness can be very depressing and leaves her feeling separated and causes her difficulty to relate to other kids her age. Her brief visit with Sir Patrick has alleviated that feeling which we cannot begin to express gratitude for."Luckily the event was captured by photographer James Barker:
This Make A Wish Foundation photo via @reddit has floored me. pic.twitter.com/2hB4CCSK1BBarker gives this description of the event on Facebook,
— soul_of_twit (@soul_of_twit) September 10, 2014
"As things are winding down and she and her family are getting ready to go, Dawn unexpectedly throws him this huge hug, and you can see the happiness in both their faces. Bravo Sir Patrick"Patrick Steward then continued on to speak to a group of around 2,000 Star Trek fans in attendance. Reminding everyone of the importance of the series,
"My feeling is that you can never have too much 'Star Trek.' We are part of this extraordinary legacy. I hope it goes on and on and on. I don't need to be part of it (in the future) because I have been part of it and it gives me great pride."[Image Credit: Abbyarcane/Wikimedia Commons]