By Tim Saunders on
One of Hollywood’s favorite sons, Johnny Depp, has brought cheer to the final days of a young boy’s life.
It has been revealed that the actor sent 8-year-old Mark Westwood an emotional video as the boy fought a progressive brain tumor in 2006.
“Keep your chin up,” said the 44-year-old actor in the 35-second video. “All the best, and lots of good luck for the future.”
Mark’s grandfather, Paul Robinson, said his son watched the video “over and over” during the last days of his life, and it meant a lot to him.
“We are so grateful to Johnny Depp for everything he did for Mark,” said Robinson. “Mark was a massive fan of his films, and the message was really special and personal to him.”
The story began when Mark’s parents – Barry and Sarah Westwood – became friendly with a couple that also had a sick child undergoing treatment at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, England. The two couples supported each other during their children’s illnesses, and together they dealt with the pain and struggle that only the parents of sick children know. But when Barry revealed that Mark was fanatical about Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean films, he was surprised to discover his new friends were close acquaintances of the star. The personal video message arrived in Sarah’s inbox a few days later.
Mark was diagnosed with a tumor in 2005, and, although he underwent three operations to remove the malignant growth, he passed away in January, 2007. He spent much of his time in the care of the Alder Hey Hospital, the biggest and busiest children’s hospital in Europe. Founded in 1914, the hospital treats over 200,000 young patients every year.
“Mark did so many special things during his life and we have a lot of people to thank,” said Barry. “Alongside the very special message from Johnny Depp, he was granted his wish of becoming a police officer for the day by North Wales Police, and he got to step out on the turf as a mascot for his team Manchester City.”
Depp had his own taste of near disaster last March, when his 8-year-old daughter was hospitalized after E. coli poisoning caused her kidneys to fail.
“To say it was the darkest moment, that’s nothing,” the 43-year-old actor told Entertainment Weekly. “It doesn’t come close to describing it. Words are so small.”
The actor dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean for Mark Westwood’s video, and also sent a signed photo.
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars