Roman Harper and Carolina Panthers make Dream come true for boy with complex heart defect.
Meet Billy: Meet William “Billy” Johnson, a local 7-year-old from Denver, NC. Billy was born with a complex congenital heart defect called heterotaxy, a disorder that results in the organs forming on the opposite side of the body. Billy had to have a heart transplant when he was just one month old. A few years later, complications from his heart caused kidney failure when he was 4-years old. Billy had to have a kidney transplant, and was able to receive one from his Mom. Billy still lives with complications from his condition, with 42 hospitalizations in his lifetime and frequent doctor visits. Billy says he wants to be doctor when he grows up so he can help people who are sick like him.
Referral Partner: Billy was referred to us by Child Life Specialist, Angela Miller, with the St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital.
Billy’s Dream: Billy LOVES all things Football and is an avid Carolina Panthers and Alabama fan! Though he is just 7, Billy knows his football stats, scores, and players, and he takes advantage of any opportunity to talk about it. Billy’s sports Dream was to see a real football stadium for the first time, and to meet some of the ‘grown up’ Alabama players. With the help of Roman Harper, former Alabama great, and the Carolina Panthers, Billy was able to have two days full of football fun for his Dream Experience!
What started as any other day at Lincoln Charter School, turned into a big surprise for Dream Kid Billy! Billy was sitting in class when he was surprised by family, friends, and staff from the St. Jude Affiliate at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital, who came together to send him off on his Dream Experience!
Billy and his family were taken to the Bank of America stadium in style, thanks to our friends at Platinum Limousine, to fulfill Billy’s Dream of seeing a real football stadium for the first time! With the help of the Carolina Panthers, we were able to give Billy and his family a private tour of the facilities. He had a blast!
Dream Kid Billy and his family were then taken to The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, where they received the ultimate VIP treatment from The Ritz and BLT Steak! Special thanks to both for going above and beyond to make Billy’s Dream Experience magical.
The next day, we made our way down to Wofford College for part two of Billy’s football Dream. Billy and his family attended the Carolina Panthers Training Camp where they were able to meet the players. Here he met up with Roman Harper, former Alabama player, and later had a private lunch together courtesy of Mellow Mushroom!
There are several people and organizations we would like to thank for making this Dream Experience possible:
Roman & Heather Harper
Riley Fields & The Carolina Panthers
Christy Hutchinson & Lincoln Charter School
Kim Werner & The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
Rachel Burns, Rachel Wormser, & BLT Steak, Charlotte
Mellow Mushroom, Spartanburg
Nicole Nazier & Platinum Limousine
Angela Miller & St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital