This past weekend I participated perhaps the greatest Jedi experience one could hope for, a Make a Wish event for a little boy named Brady. Brady was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia but his greatest wish was to become a Jedi and fight Darth Vader. The great folks at Make a Wish helped make it happen.
A few days prior, Brady was delivered a Holocron and told to keep it safe. The day of the event, he was picked up by the West Palm Police Department in an armored truck and told that it was time to complete his mission. He must deliver the Holocron to Rey and begin his Jedi Training. Brady was brought to the Kravis Center, which had been made to look completely like a Jedi training facility and temple with textured lighting. A class of Padawans from SaberCraft, Miami’s premiere LED saber combat choreography class, also known as the Magic City Jedi, were there to greet Brady and participate in his training. With the help of Jedi Master Echo and Asoka, the training included light saber dueling techniques and a lesson in mastering the force (with the help of a little stage magic and some monofilament).
Together the Padawans and Master lifted a pile of bricks into the air with the force. One by one they slowly dropped their hands until Brady was the only one left holding the heavy load in the air. Brady’s training was complete! He was escorted into the Jedi Temple where he was formally given the title “Jedi knight” in a ceremony involving several more Jedi Masters and clone troopers. But Brady’s adventure wasn’t over yet. R2-D2 came flying into the temple with a series of panicked droid beeps bringing news of an imperial attack nearby. There were reports that Vader was in the area and he was looking for the Holocron. A police SWAT truck served as the young Jedi’s transport so he could deliver the Holocron to Rey before the evil empire could steal it.
Brady arrived at City Place while an intense lightsaber battle involving Rey and a Sith was already underway. The other Padawans from Brady’s training were helping to hold off the Sith attack but who should show up but not only Darth Vader, but also Kylo Ren and the Emperor himself! The Padawans fought back, but they were no match. Even Master Echo was beaten down by Vader’s attacks. Just when all hope seemed lost, Brady’s Jedi Master called to him to remember his training, to use the force. With the encouragement of the crowd, Brady began to use the force to push back Vader. (We’re not crying, you’re crying) Just then, reinforcement Jedi’s and clone troopers arrived on the scene. They joined with Brady and together, the evil Sith Lords were stopped.
“I’m going to train people to become Jedi for free”, said Brady of his experience, “I feel super strong!”
Brady had saved the day and the crowd went wild. The mayor and the police department thanked Brady for his bravery and the young Jedi was given a key to the city.
It is events like this, that makes my love of cosplay all the more worth while when you can take your Star Wars fandom and make a dream come true for a child.
See the local news report here:
To learn more about and to find out how you can help the Make a Wish Foundation, visit the official site.
Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish® vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 35 minutes. We believe a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us and inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.
You can also see coverage of “Jedi Brady” in Issue 170 of Star Wars Insider Magazine!
Jennifer Hayman is a wife, mom, and all around Star Wars fanatic living in Southwest Florida. Jennifer is also an active member of Rebel Legion, the “Good Guy” branch of the Star Wars costuming and charity group, the 501st. When she isn’t talking about Star Wars to anyone who will listen, Jennifer also loves racing sailboats, table top games, and crafting gifts for her friends and family.