Just before he graduated from Preston High School in May, Tristan Horne attended the school’s awards assembly with his classmates. He had no idea he was in for the surprise of his life.
The Exec Counsel, along with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, had something big planned for Tristen, who suffers from a poorly differentiated chordoma with rhabdoid and sarcoma tendencies. That’s a long way to describe lots of cancer treatments.
Tristen turned to comic books as a way to escape, and in doing so connected with Deadpool, a character that also battled cancer. In the process, the character gained super powers during treatment. After the first movie was released, Tristen became enamored with the whole Deadpool world.
Tristen missed half of his sophomore year as well as his junior year while battling the disease, but he worked hard and was able to graduate with his class.
So, back to the assembly. Studentbody president Britten Atkinson asked if people meeting a variety of qualifications such as wearing a tie, had flown in an airplane or had visited New York City, could run down and stand by him. Then he asked Tristen Horne to join him.
A little confused, Tristen walked out in front of the studentbody and sat on a chair while all the other people who had run down before him placed gift bags in front of him and rejoined the studentbody. Atkinson then began pulling items from each bag: a Deadpool hat, a necktie, snacks and treats, while telling the story of Tristen’s fight with cancer.
He ended by presenting Tristen with Make A Wish Foundation’s gift: a chance to meet Ryan Reynolds, the movie star who plays Deadpool, and attend the premiere of “Deadpool 2” in New York City.
“I had no clue that was going to happen,” said Tristen. “I was shocked. I was a bit nervous too, because this was my first air plane ride.”
While in New York, Tristen also met some of the other actors in the film as well.
“He met Zazie Beetz, Josh Brolin, Julius Dennison and Morena Baccarin,” said his mother, Dixie Kaufman. “Tristen was a little starstruck and just smiled the whole time. They were so good to him.”
“I had a list of questions to ask, but I completely blanked and forgot they were in my pocket. It was our second day there, so I was still getting used to the shock of how different it was from Preston. When I got to the meeting, the guide took us to where they all were, and it was almost the entire cast.
“I was blown away at how nice they all were. They all talked to me like they were genuinely glad to see me. All of them were very down-to-earth, nice people. Julius Dennison talked to me about how different it was in New York than in New Zealand, so we both related to that. It was cool. Ryan Reynolds sat and talked with me for about 10 minutes and signed my Deadpool hat that I got at the assembly. They all were real nice to me.”
Tristen’s escort took him to a private entrance and where he was able to sit with all the stars to watch the premier of “Deadpool 2.”
“I really liked the movie too,” Tristen said. “There were other stars at the premier that weren‘t in the movie, and I got to see them too.”
“The whole trip was pretty cool. We got to ride around the city in a limo. That was another first for me,” said Tristen. “We went to Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. We got taken around the park in one of those carts pulled by a bike. That was really cool because there was a bunch of movies and TV shows being filmed there, so we got to see that too. There was something going on all the time. I tried one of the hot dogs from those cart vendors you always see, and I really liked it. Not as much as meeting the movie cast though — that was still the best part.”