Mark Hamill once gave a terminally ill fan the chance to meet Luke Skywalker

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Dec 5, 2017

There's that familiar adage that advises against meeting your heroes -- but for one Star Wars fan in particular, it wound up being a wonderful moment.

When Men in Black screenwriter Ed Solomon first reached out to Mark Hamill with a unique request, he wasn't sure if the actor would even respond. Solomon's friend, Joe Sikorra, had a son, John, who was absolutely obsessed with the Star Wars franchise -- Luke Skywalker, in particular. After John was diagnosed with a very rare genetic disorder called juvenile Batten's Disease, Sikorra wanted to give him a special moment with one of his favorite characters -- and enlisted Solomon to help. 

Hamill, who is known for his generosity to fans, was more than willing to accommodate the special wish to meet John.

"I had never met Mark, but I called his agent and asked if this could happen. Mark's agent said, 'Please don't say anything to the boy because I don't want to get his hopes up.' And then, literally less than two minutes later, Mark calls and said, 'I would love to. How about tomorrow?' I started bawling," Solomon told The Hollywood Reporter.

Although the visit took place years ago and had been a more private experience at the time, Solomon recently took to Twitter to recount the story in a small thread.

Reflecting back on the meeting with THR, both Solomon and Sikorra mentioned that Hamill answered all of John's questions -- even when the boy's short-term memory made it difficult for him to remember if he'd asked the same question more than once, or whether he was talking to Hamill or his character, Luke Skywalker.

According to Sikorra, "Mark was just super patient and kind. It was was one of those beautiful experiences. It is very humbling, this disease. You have got to let go of your normal expectations for you and your kids and family. In the midst of struggle and tragedy, it was those points of connection that makes you feel loved and less isolated. Mark was very kind, 'no rush, my time is your time.'"

At the end of their meeting, as a final question, John asked Hamill if he could "meet Princess Leia." So Hamill reached out to his onscreen twin, and Carrie Fisher agreed that same day. 

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Unfortunately, before that could be arranged, John died at the age of 23 on Sep. 24, 2015. But for Solomon, telling the story of when his friend's son met Mark Hamill was more about getting a message of positivity out there, in the midst of all of the distressing news that's been circulating around Hollywood.

"There has been so much negativity out there these days and every time I see one of my heroes trending, I have to look through my fingers to see what bad thing that might have done," Solomon said. "And because of The Last Jedi, I have been seeing Mark's face everywhere and it reminded me."

As for Hamill, his only tweet on the subject says it all:

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