Laurence Carolin recently received VIP treatment from the group U2 before a concert at Soldier Field in Chicago. The 15-year-old's first wish through the Make-a-Wish foundation was to meet Bono. When that fell through, the generosity of his second wish caught the attention of the band, the United Nation's One Foundation and residents across the country.
For 15-year-old Laurence Carolin, two wishes have been granted through his experience with the Make-a-Wish program. And skeptics would be hard pressed to find someone more deserving.
Two years ago, when Laurence began slipping into an extreme depression, his family knew something was wrong. The 13-year-old had been known for his upbeat attitude and compassion for others since he arrived in his parents’ arms from South Korea in 1995.
Still, he continued to spiral into a life-threatening state. While fighting suicidal thoughts, he clung to the lyrics of the songs from one of his favorite bands, U2.
Laurence was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive and malignant form of cancer and Laurence was offered a wish from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He chose to meet Bono, U2’s lead singer and an advocate for the world’s poor.
“I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for their music and the lyrics from their songs,” said Laurence.
When his first wish was denied, Laurence thought long and hard about what he wanted to request for his second wish.
“I should have thought of my next wish as my first wish,” said Laurence. “It’s a much better wish. I have everything that I need. (So I requested) to give the money they would have used on my wish to the United Nations Fund (to combat) extreme global poverty.”
And Laurence didn’t stop there. Since making his second wish and donating his Make-a-Wish check to the One Campaign, he has worked hard to spread the news of extreme global poverty to others. He interviewed with several newspapers and magazines in both Tennessee and Michigan, and has been featured on the radio. His school paper on extreme poverty received a standing ovation at his eighth-grade commencement services.
His new passion even caught the eye of Bono, himself. Laurence received a call from both Bono and The Edge at his home. Unfortunately, he was not there. The band members left him a message and Bono sent a book, signed personally to him.
On Sept. 13, Laurence and a large group of family and friends attended a U2 concert at Soldier Field in Chicago. Members of the One Campaign met Laurence, his father, Patrick Carolin of Newbern and his mother, Lisa Carolin of Ann Arbor, Mich., before the concert and led them to a room.
“Eventually, we were led to Bono, who treated Laurence like a king,” said Patrick Carolin. “He was respectful, engaging, and called Laurence ‘an inspiration’.”
Bono presented Laurence with a signed note with the evening’s set list.
Laurence gave Bono two papers – the paper he wrote for school on extreme poverty and another relating how the band’s music and lyrics helped him through his depression.
“After reading these items, instead of ending the meeting, Bono asked if he could take Laurence for a little while,” said Patrick Carolin. “The manager later told us he was going to the private prayer that the band has before each show with only their personal minister.”
The young man wasn’t the only person inspired through the meeting with the band members who brought him hope in a dark time and purpose through an even harder time.
“Fifteen minutes later (Laurence) came back with Bono,” said Patrick Carolin. “Bono told me that they travel to many places to do shows. One night blends into the next and the band meeting Laurence reminded them of their purpose.”
– State Gazette