“Bonaparte! Bonaparte! Bonaparte!”
The crowd cheered as the sharply dressed movie star exited the limo to walk the red carpet, waving to the crowd. This moment was the culmination of many months of work, where Bonaparte’s vision went from conversation to script to screen as his wish to be in a movie was granted.
Bonaparte, 13, of Joliet has been fighting a life-threatening blood disorder most of his life. There are times when the pain is unbearable, and he has even suffered a silent stroke. He must take several medications and have regular blood infusions. To get through the tough times, he likes to watch superhero movies with his brother.
Diagnosed with a critical illness as a toddler, Bonaparte’s medical team at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago referred him to Make-A-Wish Illinois. For medical professionals, wishes are often part of the treatment plan for children with critical illnesses.
He surprised his family when he told Make-A-Wish that he wanted to be in a movie and had an idea about a superhero hematologist that would make a great story.
“I want to be a doctor when I grow up, so I can help people with sickle cell like me, and I like superhero movies, so that’s where the idea came from,” Bonaparte said.
Bonaparte spoke with project producers and writers to develop his vision. With the help of Make-A-Wish volunteers and many talented people from the Chicago film community Bonaparte is now fighting villains on the silver screen as he stars in a film he co-wrote and filmed late last year.
Bonaparte’s movie, “The Serum,” recently had a world premiere event at the historic Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. Surrounded by family, friends and classmates, Bonaparte’s movie played on the big screen cheers and applause. He even participated in a post-movie question and answer panel on stage with the producer and director.
The experience helped to build Bonaparte’s confidence and introduce him to dozens of people who were excited to work with him to create his vision.
“It was so amazing,” his mom Stella shared. “It’s something he will always have.”