Atlanta– Carter Beckhard-Suozzi, diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, could have asked Make-A-Wish for almost anything. But the only wish on this 10-year-old’s mind was to meet his hero, and fellow cancer survivor, former President Jimmy Carter. On Monday, Carter’s wish came true.
A Glen Cove, New York native, Carter was admittedly a little nervous as he headed for The Carter Center in Atlanta Monday morning. Upon arrival, Carter and his family were led to President Carter’s office to find the former president standing at the security desk, waiting for them. Unable to hide his excitement, Carter ran towards President Carter with his arms outstretched, pausing just before him to ask, “Can I hug you?” President Carter quickly replied, “Yes!” and Carter held onto the former Commander in Chief for nearly a minute, overcome with joy from meeting his hero.
President Carter invited Carter and his family to his office where Carter brought out his list of questions which included: Why did you want to run for president and governor?, How did you deal with the opposition during your race?, Why did you want to join the Navy?, and What was your job on the peanut farm?
Carter also shared with the former president his three reasons for wishing to meet him: they have the same name; they both beat cancer; and they both like to serve others.
After spending more time talking, taking photos, signing autographs and sharing several more hugs, the cancer survivors said their goodbyes. The family finished their day with a private tour of The Carter Center. Carter’s parting words as he left The Carter Center were, “That was the best wish ever!”
"I had a wonderful visit with Carter. He is a fine young man, and we share much more than a name in common, especially our success in overcoming cancer,” said President Carter. “I know Carter will grow up to do great things."