Patrick Stewart channeled the heroism of Captain Picard when he surprised this little Trekkie.
Dawn Garrigus of Statesboro, Georgia, is an 11-year-old with mitochondrial disease, a progressive chronic illness that causes physical, mental and developmental disabilities. She is also a devoted Star Trek fan.
Through the Make-A-Wish foundation, Dawn requested to attend Dragon Con, a sci-fi and fantasy convention in Georgia, where the popular series would make an appearance. Word got around to Patrick Stewart, who was set to attend the convention, that a Make-A-Wish child (and huge Star Trek lover) would be attending, according to a representative from the organization. The actor, who played Captain Picard in the series, surprised the Trekkie with a personal meet and greet at the convention on Sept. 1.
A moving moment between a little Captain Spock and Patrick Stewart, captured by photographer James Barker.
"I was shy at first, not sure what to say or talk about, but he kept talking to me. I felt like I was on the Enterprise talking to the captain. And suddenly, I was OK," Dawn told The Huffington Post in an email.
Her parents, Danny and Kristy Garrigus, wrote in an email that it was "the happiest [they] had seen her in quite some time."
The first moment of the meeting.
While Dawn's parents told the Trekkie in August that she would be attending the convention, Dawn did not find out that she would be meeting Stewart until moments before the encounter.
"I was soooo excited ... I could not believe it," Dawn, who went to Dragon Con dressed as Captain Spock, wrote of her reaction to finding out she would be meeting the star.
Dawn, chatting it up with Patrick Stewart.
Dawn and Stewart were able to talk about several different subjects, however a stand-out moment was when the legendary actor told her that they are now pals. "He told me that since we were friends, when I saw him on video that I could wave and say, 'Hello Patrick.'"
Dawn and her family posing with the Star Trek legend.
It has been almost two weeks since their meeting, and Dawn's parents say it has already had an effect on their daughter's life.
"We have seen a very positive response," they told HuffPost. "Her illness can be very depressing and leaves her feeling separated and causes her difficulty to relate to other kids her age. Her brief visit with Sir Patrick has alleviated that feeling which we cannot begin to express gratitude for."
The Garriguses say that Stewart's kindness has left a profound impression on their daughter, and for that, they have a special message for the actor:
"You have made a mark on her and our life that will never be forgotten!"