The Before, During and After of Luke Bryan’s Message for a Teenager with Cerebral Palsy

Chicago's Emma Lookatch Gets the First Half of Her Wish Granted

First, there was the Kids Wish Network — a Florida-based wish-granting program for children with life-threatening illnesses — that has been granting wishes big and small since 1997. And someone in Emma Lookatch’s life — a family member or friend, nurse, doctor or social worker — had to have referred her for her wish: to meet Luke Bryan.

Then there was the near-wish being granted with a call from Bryan himself. “Hey Emma, it’s Luke here,” Bryan says on the video message. “And I heard you were a big, big fan, and I’m just reaching out saying hey. And I heard you were gonna get the opportunity to come to (American) Idol and meet me, and I’m so sorry how everything kind of got messed up. But I hope to meet you very, very soon, and just know that I love you.” As Emma watches Bryan’s message, and her parents Bryan and Pam watch her face light up, Emma declared, “I’ll never forget, this is better than my birthday!” The Kids Wish Network also gave the Chicago-based Lookatch family a brand new iPad and Beats by Dre headphones so that Bryan’s message came through loud and clear.

And after that call, plans are still in the works for an actual in-real-life meet and greet once we are all on the other side of this coronavirus pandemic. Lookatch’s wish will absolutely be granted, even if that means it doesn’t happen until 2021. No matter how long it takes, Lookatch will still be a fan, and Bryan will still have a big heart.

Lookatch has ataxic cerebral palsy, a congenital condition and rare type of cerebral palsy that affects balance, coordination, and depth perception. That means that she met the Kids Wish Network’s criteria for a wish: she has a life-threatening condition, she is between the ages of 3 years old and 18 years old, she has not received a wish from another wish-granting organization, and she is able to communicate — verbally or non-verbally — with switches, communication boards, or sign language.

Up next for Bryan is the fan video he’s building for his new song “Build Me a Daddy.” Submit your own photos of you and the father figure in your life here to see yourself in his video.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
@alisonbonaguro