Make-A-Wish grants 3,000th wish to Fairview Park teen

Make-A-Wish grants 3,000th wish to Fairview Park teen
James and his mother Susan. (Source: Family)
James and his mother Susan. (Source: Family)

FAIRVIEW PARK, OH (WOIO) - One Fairview Park teen experienced the trip of a lifetime made possible by the


James Leathers, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, received the 3,000th wish in northeast Ohio: a trip to New Zealand with his family to see where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed. 

His mother, Susan, says her 13-year-old son has demonstrated strength and composure while tirelessly battling the illness. 

"He just pushed through all that. I don't know if I would be able to do it," she said. 

James says he pushed through by replaying his favorite movies from the The Lord of the Rings series. 

"I kind of sympathize with Bilbo the hobbit when he's away from home, and he's wishing he could go back home and stay home. That was kind of like me in the hospital. I wish I had a ring and I could just sneak out," James said. 

James wished for a ring, but the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave him much more.

"We thought we we're going to LEGOLAND and they called and said passports would be a good idea," said Susan Leathers. "It was so great to see him relaxed, and enjoying it, and so happy." 

"The stuff that they make is amazing," said James, who was able to visit Hobbit Town, meet extras, and have a VIP experience. 

James says it was the experience of a lifetime, and it showed him that his dreams are in closer reach than he thought. 

"It makes me realize the world isn't such a big place after I've been halfway around the world," he said. 

The seventh grader is doing well now and doctors suspect the worst of his illness has past.

James will be honored at Make-A-Wish's Annual BIG Wish Gala on April 23 at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center.

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