For 9-year-old Elliot Perry of Bedford, having the chance to speak with Ellen DeGeneres was simply pure joy.
It got even better when the celebrity donated $20,000 for the boy’s wheelchair-accessible playground project on Thursday’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“This is awesome. I never thought I would hear my voice announced on this show,” Elliot told DeGeneres after he and his family were introduced to viewers via videochat.
Elliot, who was born three months premature with bilateral clubfeet, was not expected to be able to walk or talk. Defying all the odds, the fourth-grader at Memorial Elementary School in Bedford is now a healthy and active child.
“Well, I am walking. I am talking. I no longer have clubfeet and I am enjoying this awesome opportunity,” Elliot told the talk show host.
“And you definitely have an amazing personality and you are super smart,” replied DeGeneres.
The $20,000 donation, courtesy of Shutterfly, will assist with his fundraising efforts for The 121 Club — an initiative to raise $121,000 for the construction of two playgrounds that will be built at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Manchester and Lebanon.
Since fundraising began a year ago, a total of $82,000 has been donated, according to B.J. Perry, Elliot’s father.
“She put us over $100,000,” Perry said of DeGeneres’ contribution.
Perry said his son was speechless about his television appearance, which says a lot about the experience, since Elliot usually always has something to say.
“He is a fan, and it truly was amazing,” B.J. Perry said.
The show was taped on Wednesday and aired Thursday afternoon.
“It was just so much fun and I was so proud of Elliot for sharing his story and advocating for his project. He wants to get these playgrounds built,” said his mother, Carrie Perry. “We are almost there.”
To donate to his cause, visit elliotperry.org.