Jessi Parrott (18) has been granted this very special wish thanks to Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s leading wish-granting charity for children fighting serious and terminal illnesses.
Sadly when Jessi was just under a year old she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy – a genetic condition which causes a paralysis of her muscles in the lower part of her body and as well as having to cope with the usual teenage ups and downs, she is confined to a wheelchair and has to undergo treatment involving acupuncture, physiotherapy and injections to reduce the pain. Despite all of this Jessi is a remarkable girl and always gets fantastic grades at school.
In Jessi’s letter to Starlight she talks about her dearest wish to meet Keira Knightley, she writes: “During the last few months I have had a particularly difficult time physically. One of my lifelines (literally) has been watching Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. I would really like the chance to meet and say ‘thank you’ for her motivation, and talk to her about acting, period drama and Jane Austen who we both love.” As soon as Starlight received Jessi’s letter, we immediately set about making her dearest wish come true!
Jessi and her Mum were whisked off to the theatre to see Keira live on stage in the new remake of The Misanthrope! After the show was over and the applause had ended Keira came over to meet one of her biggest fans. Jessi was expecting a five minute meeting so was delighted to spend 25 minutes with her idol, taking about all their mutual interests like drama, writing, old movies and even Katherine Hepburn!
After the show, Jessi sent this poem as her thank you for her wish coming true – truly remarkable!
“Much more than a “meet and greet”
My Starlight wish was the ultimate treat.
You see – after the show,
With dear Mama in tow,
To Keira Knightley I was lucky to speak!
You might think now a strange time
For me to be writing in rhyme
But Monsieur Molière, with his savoir-faire,
He, using this style, ahead by a mile, brings a laugh and a smile
When satirising…Sir David Hare?!
Perhaps this is anachronistic,
But really it’s rather simplistic:
For without Crimp’s dare, directing our stare,
And all the cast’s care (don’t mention the hair)
Le Misanthropemight be a statistic.
2008, for me, was a really bad year medically. In pain and in fear,
I had little cheer; but along with my tears they would soon disappear.
Thanks to Keira’s portrayals ’gainst male betrayals
Which distracted my ails and very loud wails
Every day as I watched without fail.
I must say I have a strong feeling that I couldn’t have come close to healing
If not for the solace of Lizzy – with a temper that’s certainly fizzy;
And Darcy who makes me quite dizzy, I might have remained in my tizzy.
(And we mustn’t forget dear Johnny Depp
Who, on rum, can come over quite tipsy!)
Of course this was all on the screen, where ‘til now she only had been
But tonight, with delight, and a lack of stage-fright she won over Alceste like a queen.
At the end of the play, without a display, she came over to me with a stride.
She is so lovely, so natural and bubbly, my giggles I failed to hide.
We chatted like friends and, right to the end, not a trace of Prejudice or Pride.”
Thank you Starlight and Keira!
Starlight are delighted to have been able to make this very special girl’s wish come true and are sure that she has a star studded future ahead of her!
Contact: Henny Breakwell
Tel: 020 7262 2881 #231
Starlight grants a once-in-a-lifetime wish for seriously and terminally ill children, restoring the magic and fun of childhood and giving the whole family happy memories to share, whatever the future holds.
Starlight also creates entertainment in every hospital and hospice throughout the UK. Sick children go to Starlight parties, laugh their way through pantomimes, go out on Starlight Escapes, play games and watch films on the Starlight Fun Centre, and enjoy the toys and puzzles of the Starlight Distraction Box. Happy children respond better to treatment and Starlight helps children to forget about their illness and simply have a bit of fun.
You can make a donation online or by calling us on 020 7262 2881. For every £1 you donate, Starlight can assure you that 88p goes towards helping very ill children. To refer a child for a wish, simply complete our wish referral form.