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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are multiple reasons to celebrate in north Raleigh on Wednesday night. By providing youngster Luke Forbes his own personal playground, Make-A-Wish Eastern NC hit a big milestone.
Luke, 16, hasn't gotten out much since being diagnosed with leukemia in 2019. A state-of-the-art sports court in the family's backyard should change that.
"To have autism and leukemia on top of it has been a really tough road for him," said his mom, Denise Lawson-Forbes.
Even before the pandemic, there were only a few safe places for a cancer patient like Luke to go to while masked-up. Once COVID hit, those outings dried up.
"Being housebound is really difficult with a child with a disability," Lawson-Forbes said. "A little bit afraid to come outside and see people again. So, I think with this court it will allow him to come out and play."
Now, a whole new set of activities await just steps from his back door.
"It means the world to me," Lawson-Forbes said. "Anything to make my son happy."
Several business partners collaborated to make it happen, including Carolina Sport Courts of Wake Forest. For the Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina chapter, this "wish" granted is No. 4,000 provided locally.
"This is so great, said Make-A-Wish President and CEO Chris Winter. "To be out here on a beautiful day like this and have the opportunity to grant our 4,000th wish in the midst of our ongoing pandemic is really a meaningful and exciting day for us."
Carolina Sport Court owner Jim Barbee is happy to be involved as well.
"Pay it forward. Somebody that has a need, us to be able to help them. That's what we're all about," Barbee said. "And it probably makes us just as happy as it does them."
Mom Denise is beyond grateful Luke can share the space with his younger brother Matthew and older sister Abby, who plays on the UCLA tennis team.
"Getting him out to some sort of freedom. Getting him out and resuming some activity, just to make sure that he feels that the world is a little bit better than it was for him," Lawson-Forbes said.