July 15, 2006 - SAMANTHA'S STORY
An extraordinary young Ocean City girl recently enjoyed a once in a life time experience, thanks to Kids Wish Network, an organization in Florida that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Samantha, who is a quadriplegic, couldn't believe it when she got her wish to meet her all-time favorite singer, Dave Matthews, in person. For this amazing teenager, it was truly a dream come true!
Samantha's whirlwind adventure to meet her idol began soon after her nurse referred her to Kids Wish Network. Samantha had been through a very difficult few years and her family was hopeful that she would indeed be eligible for a wish with the charity. In 2002, Samantha's life changed dramatically when she was struck by a car while crossing the street. Samantha suffered a severe spinal cord injury that has left her a quadriplegic. She is paralyzed from the neck down, dependent on a ventilator, and must have round the clock professional care. After the accident, Samantha was in the hospital for over a year and experienced a range of intense and devastating emotions as she worked to recover emotionally. Today, Samantha is doing much better and feeling more positive. She works tremendously hard during her physical therapy sessions and refuses to let her condition slow her down.
After completing the application process for Kids Wish Network, Samantha was thrilled to learn that she had been approved for a wish. This courageous young girl knew just what she wanted to do. Music had been a tremendously huge part of Samantha's healing process and listening to her Dave Matthews CDs had really meant the world to her. More than anything, she wanted to meet Dave Matthews in person! Samantha's wish coordinator, Lora, quickly began the arrangements to make her wish an extra special one. She not only secured concert tickets to a Dave Matthews Band show in Hershey, PA, but she also arranged for a personal meet and greet with Samantha and the singer!
Samantha says that she has been a huge fan of Dave Matthews Band since she was about eight or nine. Her all time favorite song is "Everyday" and before her accident, Samantha played piano and guitar. After her accident, Samantha listened to her Dave Matthews Band CDs and the music both comforted her and inspired her. Now, Samantha was about to meet Dave Matthews and she couldn't believe it. After arriving at the Hershey Park Stadium, Samantha was nervous but incredibly excited as she prepared for the meet and greet before the show. The introduction to her music idol couldn't have been better. "He came around and kissed me on the cheek." For the next 30 minutes, Samantha and Dave Matthews chatted together and posed for pictures. "We talked about everything," she said. "He's really mellow and laid back. He's a gentleman, a real genuine person."
Samantha asked him about the band and how they got together. He told her what kind of music he likes to listen to. "Mainly a lot of jazz and acoustic," she said. "And he asked me a lot about myself." During their time together, Samantha gave him her graduation picture and he signed some autographs for her. "It was wonderful," said Samantha. "He said I had the most amazing eyes he's ever seen!" After the meet and greet, Samantha settled back to enjoy the concert. "It was awesome! He puts on an amazing show!" Samantha returned home from her wish trip tired but with lots of pictures and even more amazing memories. She was overwhelmed by the entire experience and was truly grateful to Lora and Kids Wish Network. "It was one of the best times of my life!"