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NC boy surprised with dream birthday celebration

A soon-to-be 12-year-old with autism and Smith-Magenis syndrome has a love of sports and a big dream of becoming a firefighter.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Amari Thompson spent Saturday living his best life after getting an early surprise visit by Dream on 3, the North Carolina non-profit organization making dreams come true for kids with life-altering conditions.

Thompson lives with autism and Smith-Magenis syndrome, a rare developmental disorder.

Liz Graham, from Dream on 3, said, "We love centering the dreams around sports because it's a team mentality. Everybody's in the huddle. We're all supporting each other."

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According to Amari's mother, Danielle Thompson, the soon-to-be 12-year-old knows how to have a good time and show people he cares for them. 

"I think he was chosen because we gave him a nickname, Mr. President," she said. "He literally walks the halls of the school. He knows everybody by first and last name, [has] a very good memory. And he’s just a very lovable, funny kid."

His teacher, Teresa Goodin, agrees. 

"When he saw me, he said, 'Ms. Goodin!' He said, 'You know we don't have school today. It's Saturday.' But all of these teachers and support staff love him," she said.

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His teachers and therapists were on hand for the morning sendoff, which included a ride with Mooresville Fire Department, a pair of new high top sneakers, and a limo ride to watch the basketball team from Davidson College. At the game, he was recognized on court before getting to meet some of the players in the locker room. He finally ended the day with a stay at the Great Wolf Lodge with his family.

"It's the perfect pre-birthday gift. He loves basketball. He wanted to be a firefighter so we have fire truck. And he loves music," Thompson said.

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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