Family recalls 'beautiful experience' of Mark Hamill visiting terminally ill boy

Ben Arnold
UK Movies Writer
(Credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo)

In case anyone still needed persuading that Mark Hamill is a class act when it comes to giving his time and meeting fans, a recent tale which has been regaled online should do the trick.

Screenwriter Ed Solomon, who has penned films like Men In Black and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, felt that in the wake of the deluge of bad news stories he’d reveal how marvellously Hamill conducted himself during a visit to his friend’s disabled son.

Taking to social media to the detail the encounter, it even caused Twitter to create a ‘moment’ around it, which saw Solomon inundated with messages from Star Wars fans.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Solomon told how, after a speculative request, Hamill agreed to come and meet John Sikorra, the young son of his friend Joe Sikorra, who was dying of Batten Disease, a rare but fatal condition of the nervous system.

“Around 1998, my son, John, was diagnosed with a very are genetic disorder called juvenile Batten’s Disease (JNCL),” Sikorra said. “The disease robs kids of their vision first followed by cognitive motor function. Typically kids die in their late teens, early 20s. It is a very complicated disease and most doctors aren’t that familiar with it. So we lived in the moment, did as much as we could.”

“I had never met Mark, but I called his agent and asked if this could happen,” said Solomon.

“Mark’s agent said, ‘Please don’t say anything to the boy because I don’t want to get his hopes up.’ And then, literally less than two minutes later, Mark calls and said, ‘I would love to. How about tomorrow?’ I started bawling.”

Hamill turned up the next day as promised.

“Mark spoke to John simply and directly and with utter dignity. John would ask the same question three times in a row, and Mark would answer the same way every single time,” added Solomon.

Sikorra added: “Mark was just super patient and kind. It was was one of those beautiful experiences. It is very humbling, this disease. You have got to let go of your normal expectations for you and your kids and family. In the midst of struggle and tragedy, it was those points of connection that makes you feel loved and less isolated. Mark was very kind, ‘no rush, my time is your time.’

“So, Mark says are there any final questions, and John asks, ‘Can I meet Princess Leia?’ And Joe and I looked at each other and winced, and I remember Joe waving his arms to Mark, like you don’t have to do this. And Mark said, ‘I’ll ask,’” Solomon recalled.

“And Mark called me later that day and said ‘Princess Leia would be happy to meet John.’ I told her about the family. She got very emotional about the unfairness of things in life. And she said ‘I only have two questions: Where and when?’ Unfortunately, John’s situation started to deteriorate pretty quick after that, so we couldn’t met up with Carrie. But Carrie had agreed to do it and that came through Mark.”

John died some years later, at the age of 23, but his family remain grateful to Hamill for the day he made their son’s dream come true.

“It was one of those very touching, moving things,” Sikorra added. “And in that moment, it raised John up and made him feel good and important and loved.”

Once the story from Solomon began trending, Hamill himself even got involved.


Is it getting a bit dusty in here?

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