Brian and Emeril in New York
BEAUMONT, Texas – Because of his illness, 16-year-old Brian cannot do much, but he loves to watch the Cooking Channel, especially when Emeril Lagasse is on. So, when he was given the chance to wish for anything his heart desired, it came as no surprise that Brian asked only to meet his favorite celebrity chef.

You see, Brian suffers from cerebral palsy. Because of this, he is not able to walk, dress himself or do many other daily tasks that most 16-year-olds can do. He relies on an electric wheelchair for mobility and must have someone with him at all times. Brian spent several months in the hospital undergoing a tendon-lengthening procedure that doctors thought would help with his mobility, but the surgery was not successful and has actually made things worse for Brian.

One day, Brian’s mother, Karen, received a phone call from a Kids Wish Network professional fundraiser who asked if she knew of any child with a life-threatening illness who might benefit from having a wish granted. She didn’t hesitate to tell the caller about her son, Brian and soon, after exchanging paperwork and phone calls, Brian was on the way to have his wish granted.

Brian’s wish was able to be granted through the generosity of several local sponsors and Deputy Carroll of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department along with Robert, the manager of Fuddruckers, who helped raise awareness of a special fundraiser for Brian’s wish at a local Fuddruckers restaurant. Once the wish was funded, a Kids Wish Network wish coordinator arranged for Brian to meet Emeril Lagasse on the set of his show in New York. In addition to the visit to the set, she also organized accommodations for Brian and Karen at the luxurious Roosevelt Hotel, dinners every evening, a cruise to the Statue of Liberty and visits to the Central Park Zoo and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum!

“Every thing was very, very nice,” said Karen with a smile. “He [Brian] just loved it.”

When they arrived at Chelsea Studios to meet Emeril, Karen said Brian got really excited and was just smiling from ear to ear. Emeril greeted Brian like a friend and talked to him for a bit before signing autographs and posing for pictures. He even gave Brian all sorts of gifts including an Emeril chef’s jacket, a chef’s hat, an apron, a signed Emeril cookbook and much, much more.

According to Karen, there was also lunch waiting for them at the studio which, of course, was absolutely superb and unlike anything they had ever tasted before.

Although he had fun at the Central Park Zoo and the visit to Ripley’s were fun for Brian, his favorite part of the wish was meeting Emeril in person.

“He was real excited and still is,” said Karen. “He’s told his grandma and everybody all about it since we got home.”

During his final evening in New York, Brian was also given the VIP treatment at Dave & Buster’s with a special German chocolate cake; a gift box full of personalized items from the Green Bay Packers like a signed football, a cup, a throw blanket and a signed note from Aaron Rogers; unlimited play on the games and a gift bag full of goodies from the Dave & Buster’s gift shop. Brian laughed and smiled the whole evening.

All in all, it was the perfect wish for Brian.

“This was a once in a lifetime thing for him and for us,” said Karen of her son’s wish trip. “Thank you all. It was unbelievable.”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Brian’s wish extra special: Emeril Lagasse; Connie Carter of Colonial Life Insurance; Beaumont Elks #311; Christian Fellowship Worship Center; Christ Community Church of Beaumont; Kingswood Area Mothers of Multiples; Sabine Area Restaurant Association in conjunction with George and Bruno’s wine; Lamar University Culinary Department; Alpha Sigma Beta of Lamar University; Fuddruckers Restaurant; Rod Carroll of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department; Golden Triangle Chef’s Association; U.S. Limousine; The Roosevelt; Pershing Square; NY Water Taxi; Red; Central Park Zoo; Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Odditorium Times Square and Dave & Buster’s Times Square.

Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs. Every child deserves a chance at happiness; a wish is just a way of bringing them that joy. If you would like to sponsor a child's wish or if you know a child who is suffering from a life-threatening illness and may be in need of Kids Wish Network's wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at
Emeril giving Brian a cookbook