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John Daniel Moorer, Scott Goode, Jocelyn Locke
John Daniel Moorer (center), who was particularly proud of his "science coat," a lab safety jacket monogrammed with his name and new affiliation with the department of chemistry and biochemistry at USC, is supervised during a demonstration by Scott Goode (left) and Jocelyn Locke.

Children's Miracle Network wish granted: "I want to go to a real science lab."

Contact: Steven Powell, spowell2@mailbox.sc.edu

Chemistry labs are often the setting for wishes going unfulfilled, but things were different on Monday (April 30) at USC.

John Daniel Moorer, a 6-year-old who loves math and wants to be a scientist, found his way to a personalized, hands-on chemistry demonstration. And for him, it was a dream come true.

Columbia's Children's Miracle Network hospital, the Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, helped to put John Daniel together with Scott Goode, a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry. John Daniel is home-schooled and attends the South Carolina Early Autism Project 23 hours a week for applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.

Goode, a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, put on a show with color-changing liquids, soda bottles going volcanic, coins turning from copper to silver to gold, and fire that could be held in the palm of the hand. "It's not magic, it's science," Goode reiterated throughout the interactive presentation, taking time to explain the concepts behind many of the experiments.

John Daniel has been on USC's collective mind since Feb. 24, when he attended the Dance Marathon at the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center, which raised nearly $180,000 for the Children's Hospital. Coincidentally, that was his sixth birthday, and on the way to the dance his family told him that they were headed to his birthday party.

When they added that he might have a chance to speak to the crowd, he was thoughtful. "Y'all should have told me about that before we came," he said. "That way I could have written something and had my notes prepared."

John Daniel addressed the crowd at the Dance Marathon, and he enjoyed every minute of the experience, said his great-grandmother Mary Webb. His wish was "to go to a real science lab," Webb said.

Zach Roth, the internal events coordinator for Dance Marathon and a USC sophomore, followed up on the request by speaking with the manager of his chemistry lab, Amy Taylor-Perry. She then worked with Goode (her Ph.D. advisor) and Jocelyn Locke of USC's Environmental Health and Safety office to make sure the wish was fulfilled.

"People really stepped up when they heard about it," Goode said. "Sarah Hoeschen, our rep with Fisher Scientific, gave us supplies we needed, and the department of chemistry and biochemistry contributed as well."

"And when you see the smile on his face, it’s well worth it."

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 05/01/12 @ 11:00 PM | Updated: 05/01/12 @ 12:34 PM | Permalink

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