x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Boy’s wish of meeting Will Smith comes true

"We laughed a lot, it was really amazing,” says 12-year-old Adam Salim who suffers from Von Willebrand disease.

“I said I wanted to meet Will Smith. He makes me laugh so much,
“I said I wanted to meet Will Smith. He makes me laugh so much," says Adam Salim, 12, who has been diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease. Courtesy Make-A-Wish Foundation UAE

DUBAI // A young boy who suffers from a potentially life-threatening condition had his dream come true yesterday when he met his idol, the Hollywood star Will Smith.

Adam Salim, who is 12 years old, suffers from Von Willebrand disease and met the actor thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation UAE.

Adam’s condition means that if he suffers even a minor scrape he could have severe bleeding due to the blood being unable to clot, which in turn leads to major health complications.

It was after a chance meeting at a hospital a month ago when Adam met with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who asked him what he would like.

“I said I wanted to meet Will Smith,” said Adam. “He makes me laugh so much and I find him really interesting. His movies are so dramatic and some are comedy. My favourite is The Pursuit of Happyness. That film made me cry. It is so good,” he said.

Before meeting his idol, who was on holiday in Dubai with his family, Adam said he was very nervous.

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to talk to him, but he was so friendly and we laughed a lot it was really amazing,” he said.

Adam said he asked the actor about what encouraged him to get into acting and who his influences were.

“He told me he started acting in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and said the person he looked up to was Eddie Murphy because he was so funny.

“He was so friendly, and it was such fun. My friends couldn’t believe it. When I showed them the photos they said it was photoshopped.”

His father, Mohammed, said that in 2009 Adam suffered from internal bleeding, and he was in a coma for 22 days in Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Thankfully, he made a full recovery.

He said, as a parent, the condition is a constant worry. “When he plays hard or lands on the ground it can be very bad,” he said. “As a kid even when they had to take out a tooth this couldn’t be done in a dentist surgery. He had to go to hospital, where he could have the proper medicine.

“We are always trying to push him to avoid any tough games like playing at school, so we are always concerned,” he added.

Despite the risks associated with his illness, Adam remains positive.

“I doesn’t affect my life – I just live normal,” he said.

The youngster is keen to pursue his own dreams of stardom, albeit on a different platform.

He makes gaming videos on YouTube, where he posts content from popular free-to-play title Minecraft. He said he already has 21 subscribers.

“Adam’s wish was different from other wishes,” said Hani Al Zubaidi, chief executive of the Make-A-Wish Foundation UAE.

“Most of the children in his age group would prefer to meet actors from the Arab world, but Adam requested to meet Will Smith who is famous for comedy and action movies.

“We coordinated with Will Smith who accepted our request instantly,” Mr Al Zubaidi said.

ksinclair@thenational.ae