NORMAL - While many kids were collecting candy on Saturday, 14-year-old Justin Moore was getting a wish granted.
"I'm just excited and nervous," the Bloomington teenager said.
Moore was collecting MP3 players, a television, jewelry and other household items at Walmart, 300 Greenbriar Drive, Normal. He had a lot of shopping to do after receiving $2,250 from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Moore was diagnosed with leukemia when he was about 7 years old. Thanks to a bone marrow transplant from his then 18-month-old sister in 2003, he recovered and is in remission.
"Right now he is in good health and high spirits," said Justin's mother, Sandy Moore. "He has just been smiling from ear-to-ear recently."
Followed by family and friends pushing shopping carts, Moore picked out an iPod and some compact discs for himself. He bought his mom and aunt jewelry. He bought clothing for his six brothers and sisters.
Rita Dempsey worked with Moore for about a year as the Bloomington-based wish-giver for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The not-for-profit national organization helps fulfill the wishes of children who have been diagnosed with potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Last year about 640 wishes were granted in Illinois.
The first thing that Dempsey realized about Moore was that he is selfless, only wanting lunch at Pizza Hut and a shop-ping trip at Walmart to buy things for his family.
"When we met him the first time he didn't want to do any-thing for himself," she said. "He just wants to do it for everybody else."
Because of the financial strain his illness has put on his family, Moore purchased practical items like towels and bed sheets. Walmart donated a new bed for him, along with a new computer and several other items. Store officials literally rolled out the red carpet for Moore as dozens of store associates applauded as he exited a limousine. He even had his own dressing room and rest area, complete with cake and balloons.
He also received lunch at Pizza Hut before the shopping spree, along with $200 in Pizza Hut and Walmart gift cards.
Moore was not the only one receiving special treatment that day. His 8-year-old sister, Beth Moore, who gave him the life-saving bone marrow, received a makeover in the salon and $50 to spend in the store.
"I'm here because I saved his life," she said.