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Australian Wish Kid Francesco Meets Kings of Swing in West Virginia

Francesco with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia welcomed Australian wish kid Francesco this past week for a swingin' good time as he met contemporary swing revival band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Clay Center in Charleston, WV.

Francesco has always had a love for music, but it wasn't until he was diagnosed with leukemia that he started to develop a passion for swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  When he was sick in the hospital, the music of this eclectic band helped brighten his days and inspire him.  He would even play his saxophone in his room, where kids came, sat outside of his room  and cheered for him like he was putting on a personal concert.  For his wish, Francesco traveled all the way from Brunswick, Australia, to Charleston, WV, to meet his musical inspiration.

Francesco's first day in the United States started off with a tour of the West Virginia State Capital and Governor’s Mansion.  Francesco met the West Virginia Governor, Earl Ray Tomblin and even presented his wife with a stuffed koala bear from Australia. Francesco was declared an Honorary Mountaineer.  

Before Francesco could meet his favorite swing band legends, he, of course, needed to find a zoot suit.  At Estep’s in Charleston, he picked out the perfect pinstripe suit complete with a hat and wingtip shoes to match the era of the band. Francesco had a photo shoot in his new zoot suit at the former Sunrise Museum (now Farmer, Cline & Campbell’s Law Office) overlooking the city of Charleston.

On his wish day, Francesco and his family were picked up outside of the Embassy Suites hotel in a 1930s Packard for a ride in style to the concert. Francesco felt like a celebrity as he arrived in this classic car with people snapping photos and asking questions about his trip. At sound check, the band took requests from Francesco and then asked him to come backstage to jam with them. He picked up the saxophone and started to play….the band members were blown away by his talent. The band members, touched to have someone so invested into their music, offered Francesco great advice about making music and creating a band.

"Just to stay alive in this business, you just put your head down and work really hard and every now and then something will happen that makes you realize people are listening and people care,"  said lead singer Scott Joshua said. 

After his meet and greet and jam session with the band, Francesco enjoyed an unforgettable concert.

For Francesco and his family, the experience was truly a dream come true. Playing with his favorite band is a moment that Francesco will not soon forget. 

  • Francesco with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

  • Francesco declared an honorary Mountaineer by est Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

  • Francesco and his family outside the hotel about to head to his wish in a 1930s Packard

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