NHS senior gets car as result of Make a Wish program

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 16, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; A short spin down the road was all Kenderick Curtis wanted.

So his family, friends and Make-A-Wish sponsors put the party in his honor on hold while the Natchez High senior took his newly customized, candy-apple red, 1990 Buick LeSabre for a test run, new sound system blaring.

And it was a dream come true, Curtis said.

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&uot;I’ve been waiting a long time,&uot; said Curtis, who stopped chemotherapy treatments a month ago for colon cancer and has had clean tests ever since.

&uot;Red is my favorite color, and I had to spice it up a little,&uot; Curtis said. &uot;I want to thank my mom for going through everything to get this for me.&uot;

Caroline Curtis said her son’s smile when he pulled off the tarp covering the car was thanks enough.

&uot;Just to see the smile on his face,&uot; she said. &uot;He deserves it. He’s a good child and he went through a lot last year.&uot;

Curtis had surgery last July before undergoing six months of chemotherapy. Tests are ongoing, but so far Curtis is healthy.

Watching Curtis explore his new toy was part of a wish for his Make-A-Wish sponsors Shirley and Duffy McKenzie too.

The McKenzies, of Brandon, have been waiting to sponsor a teen-age boy with an interest in cars ever since they lost their son Eliot to cancer in 2003.

Eliot McKenzie’s wish was a new one for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 17-year-old had his Jeep Wrangler customized and later got a personalized license plate that read &uot;MI WISH.&uot;

&uot;It meant so much to Eliot,&uot; Shirley McKenzie said. &uot;We are just tickled to do it for Kenderick. He

(Eliot) would love to be doing it for him.

&uot;We still have the Jeep, we’ll always have he Jeep. It is really special for us to do this. He fit.&uot;

The McKenzies raised the money to fund Curtis’ wish by having a memorial party celebrating Eliot’s life, which will now become an annual event.

&uot;We asked family and friends to donate $20,&uot; Shirley McKenzie said. &uot;Before the party even started we collected at least $1,000 from people who couldn’t come.&uot;

Curtis’ car included 17&uot; rims and wheels in addition to the new sound system and paint job.

Curtis will graduate from Natchez High in May and begin Tougaloo College in the fall where he will major in computer science.