When 9-year-old Peter Kwimbly’s blood tests came back, the news wasn’t good. The cancer was back. And Peter’s doctors believed that this time, it was here to stay.
That’s when the Meet Your Heroes Foundation stepped in. They asked Peter: If he could have anyone visit him at the hospital, who would he choose?
Peter didn’t have to think about it for long. He knew exactly who he wanted to see, and for whatever goddamn reason, that person was former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips.
“We made sure Peter knew he could ask for anyone in the whole world,” said MYH director Lois Gorman, who mentioned that the foundation showed Peter a picture of the PBS NewsHour contributor to confirm he wasn’t thinking of someone else. “But damned if the kid wasn’t absolutely positive—he wanted to meet Stone Phillips.”
Honoring Peter’s request, the good people at Meet Your Heroes reached out to Phillips, and the retired news anchor agreed to drop by. Just one week later, this child’s inexplicable dream came true.
Phillips spent an hour talking and taking pictures with Peter, giving the 9-year-old leukemia sufferer what was—God knows why—the visit of a lifetime.
“I can’t understand kids like Peter, and I probably never will,” said Phillips, who completed a report for the Golf Channel last year. “To have only a few precious weeks to live, and to spend an hour of that time with me instead of, say, Chris Pratt or Russell Wilson? I couldn’t pretend to wrap my head around what it must be like or why he would make that choice.”
“It’s whatever he wants, I guess,” Phillips added.
And by the time his idol left, Peter Kwimbly was, for reasons utterly beyond the understanding of anyone in attendance, beaming from ear to ear. He was thrilled.
“It was the best day of my life,” he said, wholly in earnest. “I’ll never forget it.”