On August 14, 2015, Luke’s parents received a phone call informing them that Luke had a 10-inch tumor in his lower right leg. Luke turned 15 the next day.
In the following three weeks, they learned that the tumor was cancerous and had spread beyond Luke’s leg. Surgeons then had to remove Luke’s lower right leg. It was a hard, life-changing month. Since the day of diagnosis, Luke spent 10 months receiving chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation as he battled rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a rare tumor of the muscle tissue.
His parents James and Laura knew that they needed to celebrate his 16th birthday in a big way to make up for his sad and challenging 15th birthday. They decided to throw a big birthday party at the church where James is a pastor, and Luke made his wish to have comedian Brian Regan perform at his birthday party. Conveniently, Brian had a show in Michigan the week of Luke’s birthday and agreed to come out and perform for 250 of Luke’s closest family and friends.
“It was certainly a huge honor to be asked,” Brian said. “Doing comedy and getting laughs is our normal thing, and that’s what we’re looking for, but to have an extra layer of specialness to it meeting Luke and his family was definitely a highlight.”
Prior to the show, Luke and his family met Brian backstage where they requested to hear three specific bits that Brian performed at the beginning of his show before going into some of his newer material.
“I couldn’t believe he was really there,” Luke said. “He was the first comedian I was ever introduced to. I’ve been watching him on YouTube, and he just cracks me up. I got to introduce him to all of my friends. It was awesome.”
Throughout the whole set, Luke’s face lit up with laughter as he was surrounded by his friends from high school. His hospital visits, blood draws, scans, hair loss and surgeries were all forgotten as Brian’s comedy drew laughter from the crowd of family and friends who had supported Luke every step of the way.
“To cause someone else to feel good is just a tremendous feeling,” Brian explained. “It’s also a diversion. You can take your mind off of challenging things sometimes and have a couple laughs for a few minutes.”
Luke’s 16th birthday party came four days after his one-year anniversary of his cancer diagnosis. His wish to meet Brian came full circle, and it allowed him to focus on the fun instead of thinking about all that had transpired in the past year.
“The 14th was the year anniversary was a very hard day – just reflection for him and all of us,” James said. “But to have him go through the rest of the week and not be thinking at all about anything other than how excited he was about Brian Regan, but about all of his friends. He kept looking at the guest list and saying all of my friends will be in the same place.”
His wish gave Luke the opportunity to dream big and consider all of the possibilities before ultimately choosing to meet Brian, who his family had seen perform live a couple times previously.
“It was awesome,” Luke said. “I felt like the sky was the limit, and I could do anything I wanted, meet anyone. It was just an awesome opportunity.”