Marquis Potts turned 9 in July, but he didn’t get his big birthday present until August. Now it’s September, and he still hasn’t stopped talking about it.
“It was a lot of fun,” Marquis says of his present, which was really a wish come true.
Marquis was born with cerebral palsy. And once the Kids Wish Network learned of his story, the organization wanted to give him whatever he asked for.
The Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary student loves gospel music, especially the group Mary Mary. So when the duo had a tour stop in Atlanta, the Kids Wish Network scored him tickets and a lot more.
“He had celebrity status for two days,” said Marquis’ mother, Alison Potts.
The Potts family stayed in the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta and toured the CNN Center, Zoo Atlanta and ate at several of the city’s finest restaurants. Marquis’ favorite meal came the day of the concert at Philips Arena.
Lunch was a party of three: Marquis and sisters Erica and Tina Campbell — the two women who make up Mary Mary.
“He got a one-on-one lunch with them, and they have kids who are about his age, so it was really neat,” Potts said. “He hasn’t stopped talking about it since.”
Marquis’ family reached out to the Kids Wish Network in January.
Based in Florida, the organization grants wishes to children from all over the country who are suffering from chronic or life-threatening conditions.
The agency actually asks each child for three wishes because some can’t be granted — one child wanted to go back in time and play with the dinosaurs, said Jennifer Gasparovic, a wish coordinator.
“In that case, we took him to see the dinosaurs at the Smithsonian, so it worked out,” Gasparovic said. “We’re pretty good at getting the first wish accomplished.”
Gasparovic talked to Marquis and learned that he wanted to see Mary Mary in concert more than anything. He’s involved at the family church, Cornerstone Church on Lexington Road, and his love for the gospel duo goes back a while.
“He watches them on TV every Sunday night and calls them his girls,” Potts said. “He told me, ‘Mama, I really like those girls.’ He kind of fell in love with them.”
Mary Mary had Atlanta as a tour stop in the middle of August. Kids Wish Network started working on how much they could give Marquis.
With support from Woodmen of the World, Women of Faith and the Omni Center in Atlanta, Gasparovic and the Kids Wish Network worked out an itinerary. Mary Mary were more than happy to cooperate, Gasparovic said.
“They were able to let Marquis and his family go backstage and do lunch and a meet-and-greet,” she said. “We wanted to make sure he had a complete experience. He told us it was the best time ever.”
“The concert was really the icing on the cake — they even put his picture up on the jumbo screen during the show,” Potts added. “The way everything panned out, it was really special for him.”
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