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‘Yoda’ fulfills dream, slays the bad guys

Make-A-Wish Foundation helps young heart patient play out his fantasy battle

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MURRAY — At least for a while Saturday, 5-year-old Trevor Buck didn't look like a boy who is staring down the barrel of a "tremendously" risky heart surgery.

Surrounded by friends and family, Trevor dressed up like Yoda from "Star Wars," slew several bad guys with a laser gun and light saber, ate some French fries from Burger King — and smiled all the while.

But in his young life, Trevor has, so far, faced 11 surgeries related to problems with his kidneys, stomach, brain and heart.

This Tuesday, Trevor will undergo the third open-heart surgery in his ongoing battle with congestive heart failure.

"I think he gets a little afraid sometimes, but he's tough," said his father, Tommy Buck. "I've got a good feeling he's going to be all right."

Doctors for Buck's son suggested contacting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which in about three weeks put together a "rush" wish with the help of Laser Quest and about 20 costumed members of the Alpine Garrison Star Wars Club.

Last year, the foundation in Utah granted 132 wishes to children between the ages of about 3 and 18, all of whom faced life-threatening illnesses.

Wishes in the past have ranged from simply getting a puppy to taking trips to Australia or India, according to Barbara Schieving, communications specialist for Make-A-Wish.

"I think this is a first," Schieving said of the Star Wars theme.

Make-A-Wish volunteer Scott Joynt helped organize it all, getting people to come from as far away as Idaho to dress up as characters from the movie series. Darth Vader, Joynt noted, didn't have a fighting chance against the youngster as Trevor's wish unfolded nearby at Laser Quest's building.

"It's what he wanted," said Trevor's mother, Jenney Pratt. "He came up with it all by himself."

Pratt said she has noticed a "look" that comes to her son's face when he thinks about Tuesday, but then the wish would "perk" him up. "He's really looked forward to today," she added.

As the wish continued at the Wish Foundation's Murray facility, Trevor set about tearing into presents with silver wrapping, with his sister Emily, 6, looking over his shoulder.

Trevor drank grape pop and playfully used a green balloon to beat up on his victims who, along with Trevor, laughed and rolled around on the floor.

People applauded as Trevor took on the forces of evil with a red plastic light saber. Luke Skywalker (Jakob Tice) would later honor Trevor with the title "Jedi Knight," which came with a certificate and medal as proof of his achievement.

To be sure a brave Trevor knew what he had accomplished by battling villains five times his size, the young knight was introduced to a grateful princess and reminded by Tice, "Trevor, I think it's safe to say you've won."

E-mail: sspeckman@desnews.com