New battle plan
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
6/22/10 at 6:36 AM
CLAREMORE — When you're just a boy and having to battle leukemia, it's normal to envision yourself elsewhere.
For 5-year-old Christian Bentley, that place was a galaxy far, far away.
"When he was first diagnosed, he carried his X-Box back and forth from the hospital," his grandmother Tracy Clark said.
"At home, that Star Wars game pretty much kept him going."
The planets aligned for Christian again Monday, when the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma revealed his wish: a Star Wars clubhouse for his backyard.
"It's awesome," Clark said of the 14- by 11-foot plywood spaceship playset. "It's more amazing than we ever imagined, I can tell you that."
Battling an ear infection, Christian appeared overwhelmed by the whole ordeal, at times rubbing his eyes and shaking his head in front of a crowd that included Star Wars characters including Storm Troopers and an Imperial Guard.
Union Public Schools' Moore Elementary School raised the roughly $5,100 it took to grant Christian's wish.
Little Mountain Productions of Tulsa, which designs and creates sets, stages, special effects and props, built the playset, a replica of the Millennium Falcon spaceship featured in the "Star Wars" movies.
The base of the clubhouse was erected by volunteers from Simmons Homes.
"This is definitely one of the most creative wishes we've ever done," said Jane Rohweder, director of development for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. "The wish he had took so many people, so many volunteers to make it happen. It's really been a community effort."
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma serves children ages 2
to 18. It has granted more than 1,800 wishes since its inception in 1987.
On Monday, the Claremore Fire Department escorted the flatbed trailer that delivered Christian's playset.
It took 14 people, several of them firefighters, to lift the acrylic-domed spaceship onto its 7-foot-tall base.
After the unveiling, Christian's grandfather Ed Clark had a wish of his own.
"I'm waiting for everybody to leave so I can go play in it, too," he said. "They just did a wonderful job."
Rhett Morgan 581-8395
A Star Wars Storm Trooper shows Christian Bentley, 5, his new clubhouse with a Star Wars theme, donated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Monday. SHERRY BROWN / Tulsa World
Christian Bentley, 5, holds Star Wars toy figures he received from the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Monday. Christian has leukemia and received a clubhouse with a Star Wars theme from the group. SHERRY BROWN / Tulsa World