One heroic youngster got the surprise of a lifetime on Saturday when his favorite rock star showed up at his fundraiser for pediatric cancer research.
When Mario Carpino was just 4 years old, he was diagnosed with four inoperable brain tumors. He underwent years of chemotherapy, and his tumors have since stabilized, according to a blog post his mom wrote. Now 10 years old, the inspiring New Jersey native has raised more than $150,000 toward finding a cure for childhood cancer through his work with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
On June 7, Mario held his fourth annual lemonade stand event at the Woolwich Fire Department in Swedesboro, N.J. Months earlier, he'd started a Facebook campaign in an effort to grab the attention of his favorite singer, Jon Bon Jovi, who Mario hoped would attend this year's event. The Carpino family never heard from the singer.
But on Saturday, completely unbeknownst to any of the Carpinos ahead of time, Bon Jovi flew into the Garden State and showed up at Mario's event, according to Yahoo Shine.
— Marios Fight (@MariosFight) June 10, 2014
"Little did we know that he would just show up and surprise me," Anna Carpino, Mario's mom, told Yahoo. "As much as I wanted it to be him, I thought it couldn't happen. I just started breaking down, crying, and shaking. I was a hot mess!"
According to the Star-Ledger, Bon Jovi learned about the fundraiser from his son who told the star that he had to go.
"He told me his son said, 'You know what you're doing on June 7 right?'" Carpino told the outlet.
The rock singer posed for photographs, signed his No. 1 fan's T-shirt and even gave him his hat.
Later, Mario's mom took to Facebook and wrote that the surprise appearance was "the happiest day" of her son's life.
"Thank you Jon for making Mario's dream come true," she added.
Mario's fourth lemonade stand event has raised more than $31,000 so far. To donate, click here.