• Through Make-A-Wish, two local children receive Hollywood premiere


    Five-year-old Jackson and 8-year-old Joell starred in a superhero movie made just for them.

    After courageously battling separate life-threatening medical conditions, the local kids had a show-stopping premiere on Sunday brought to life by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    Jackson, from Gaston County, who had a brain tumor removed a year and a half ago, and Joell, from Mecklenburg County, who was born with a cardiac condition, were in the Hollywood spotlight.

    "Fought through it and walked out of the hospital and a lot of people didn't think he would,” said Jason Hall, Jackson’s father.

    Fans cheered, they gave out autographs, walked down the red carpet and had their photos taken by the paparazzi, bringing to life the dreams for Jackson and Joell.

    "We would've never been able to do this without the imagination and spark of the community,” said Amy Brindley, of Make-A-Wish Central in Western North Carolina.

    Jackson and Joell were city defenders, superheroes battling crime in the Queen City.         

    "I can't wait to see their expressions when they see themselves on the big screen. That is going to be why we did it,” said Demetre Gionis, the director.

    It took a year's worth of planning and filming for the premiere to become fruition.

    “Once we pull up, see all the fans there, he's like, 'Are those people there for me?'" said Cindy Carpinteyro, Joell’s mother.

    “The closer we got, the bigger the smile,” Hall said.

    While the boys play superheroes Lobsterman and Master Builder on camera, they are superheroes in real life to their family.

    “He's our own hero 100 percent," Hall said.

    "I'm thankful for him every day. He's my hero,” Carpinteyro said.

    The local Make-A-Wish chapter grants 340 wishes a year for children battling life-threatening medical conditions and has never turned down a wish for an eligible child.

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