Aspiring actor and 14-year-old wish recipient Jack loves to escape life with end-stage renal disease into his favorite TV show, "Criminal Minds." Jack wrote a letter to the cast explaining that he is an avid fan of the show, with a passion for acting and desire to learn about each of their journeys to becoming actors.
"The wish came about ... before Jack's transplant and provided a relaxing, exciting vacation before a time that has been pretty stressful for our family," said Jack's mom, Ann. "We're so glad that he chose something that was truly unique and special to him and that he probably would not have an opportunity to do without Make-A-Wish."
Jack and his family were off to Los Angeles to spend a day on the set of "Criminal Minds" and the cast and crew were just as excited as he, since this was the first wish request they had ever received. Arriving at the studio in style, Jack and his family stepped out of the limousine and onto the set. "When I walked in the door of the 'Criminal Minds' studio and saw all the actors that I have seen so many times on TV, it was amazing. They were all so welcoming and nice. They were just like normal people," said Jack.
While on the set, the cast and crew made Jack feel like part of the team. He joined in the celebration of Matthew Gray Gubler's birthday. Joe Mantegna invited the family into his trailer and gave them replicas of his Hollywood Star.
To make the day even more exciting, "The Insider" was on set that day. Jack was interviewed for one of their segments which appeared on national TV. "The crew rolled out the red carpet," said wish volunteer Lori Rifkin. "The media was following him from the moment he arrived. He got to sit in the director's chair, call action and cut, look through the camera, and more. Everyone was overwhelmed with excitement!"
This experience has left a lasting impact on Jack who is now, more than ever, inspired to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.
Shortly after Jack returned from his wish experience, he received a new kidney. This incredible gift happened just days before Christmas. "While Jack will need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life, his prognosis is excellent," said Ann.
Special thanks: Wish granting volunteers Elise Bigley, Cecile Morales Blois, Colleen Cameron and Lori Rifkin; the cast of "Criminal Minds;" Hyatt Regency Century plaza; Johnson's Limousine Service; Make-A-Wish Greater LA; SeaTac Park; and Universal Studios; and United Healthcare who sponsored Jack's wish.