BLUE HILL (AP) – Walker Hawthorne Sorenson’s 17th birthday is still a week away, but the celebration began early – at a Super Bowl party he won’t soon forget.

Walker, who was born with a rare disease that slowed his development and was recently diagnosed with leukemia, is no stranger to tough challenges.

The New England Patriots fan had a simple request before Sunday’s big game. He asked his father, Ed, to get him a turkey club from a local sandwich shop so he could eat it before the opening kickoff.

The teenager returned home from a ride around Bar Harbor with his dad to see about 30 people crowded into the entryway and living room.

There was a 52-inch Sony television set in the living room corner and a mountain of presents wrapped in NFL paper on the coffee table, all courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Among the other gifts were a TiVo TV satellite system; DirecTV satellite service; a five-disc CD changer and surround sound system; an XBOX video game system and plenty of T-shirts and sweatshirts.

“Sweet!” Walker exclaimed as he walked in the room. “I’m talking to you, Tedy!”

“Tedy” was Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, whose physical presence filled almost the entire giant screen’s frame. The youngster even got a surprise visit from his favorite radio personality, DJ Dave Isaac of WKIT, Bangor.

who Walker calls each night with classic rock music requests.

Walker was born with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS), a disease similar to Down’s Syndrome which blocks the body’s ability to produce cholesterol. As a result, he has developed at a much slower rate physically and mentally than other children his age.

Despite this challenge, Walker plays drums in the George Stevens Academy high school band, reads books by authors like Dick Francis and John Grisham, and talks sports like the dedicated fan he is.

Last fall, life threw another curveball at Walker, who became very sick and was diagnosed with leukemia.

“Back in September, Walker was so sick, we didn’t even know if he’d be able to make it to the end of the month,” Ed Sorenson said.

Walker spent Saturday with his mother, Elaine Jacobson, while all the video, audio and satellite systems were installed. He then spent Saturday night at a local motel, courtesy of Make-A-Wish, in order to maintain the veil of secrecy for Sunday.

Soon after Walker was diagnosed with leukemia, stepmother Susan Sorenson got the idea to contact the Make-A-Wish Foundation on his behalf and submit his name as a candidate for their charitable program that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“Walker has never complained once,” Susan Sorenson said. “He’s an amazing kid. He teaches us lessons every day.”

Ed Sorenson said the only thing Walker ever really asked for was an XBOX. He never said anything about a TV, but the Make-A-Wish people insisted on it.

“The day after New Year’s, they called to say it would be great if we could do all this for Super Bowl Sunday and kind of tie it into his birthday, which is Feb. 9,” Walker’s father said.

“They thought it would be great if he could watch the game on his new TV. Well, by new TV, I thought it would be a 27-inch or something. Then they came up with this.”

AP-ES-02-02-04 1122EST

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