DeGeneres grants Rigby boy’s wishes
Ellen DeGeneres told 7-year-old Tayt Andersen from Rigby Idaho that he is her only boyfriend.
Tayt has spent three-fourths of his life in hospital beds at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah due to a heart condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He was born without the left side of his heart. Given 3-30 days to live the day he was born, Tayt has exceeded all expectations.
Chrissy Anderson, Tayt’s mother, said her son started watching “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” when he was 3 1/2-years-old in the intensive care unit. Chrissy said that whenever Tayt watched “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in the hospital, he would call his nurses to watch with him. His doctors would have to wait for the show to end before they could get Tayt’s attention.
“He likes that she’s consistent, she’s always positive, it doesn’t matter what day it is or what the topic is or what he’s going through, she makes him smile and that’s what’s important,” Chrissy Andersen said.
In November of 2012 Chrissy Andersen and Lori Embree, a BYU-Idaho professor of communication and long-time family friend to the Andersen’s, decided to share Tayt’s story with the world. A Facebook page called Tayt’s Wish was created.
According to the Facebook page, “Tayt has only two wishes. His wishes aren’t for new hearts, a normal life, or even to feel healthy. He wants to go to Disneyland, and wants his “girlfriend” Ellen DeGeneres to go with him.”
Jan. 8, the Andersen’s were told they would be having a Skype meeting with one of the executive producers of Ellen. Chrissy Andersen and Tayt answered the call and said they were shocked to be talking with Ellen DeGeneres herself. While she was too surprised to talk, Chrissy Andersen said that Tayt gave Ellen a big smile as he said hi.
DeGeneres informed Tayt that he and his family would be flown out to California on an all-expense-paid trip by Expedia to Disneyland. When the trip was over Tayt and His mother would meet with Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show. After DeGeneres told Tayt that he is her only boyfriend Tayt told her he loved her.
“I love you too, Tayt! I love you. We’ll see you soon,” DeGeneres said.
Three weeks later Tayt’s entire family flew out to California. On the airplane ride over Tayt got to meet the pilots and fly in the cockpit. Tayt’s family visited Disneyland. Tayt got to ride his favorite rides, Cars and Finding Nemo.
As Tayt entered the studio of the “Ellen Degeneres Show,” DeGeneres ran to Tayt and hugged him and Chrissy Andersen. The staff at the Ellen DeGeneres show told Chrissy Andersen that it was the first time that Ellen had ever gone to greet a guest, much less run to them.
“Come sit next to me!” DeGeneres said to Tayt. He sat next to her for the entire interview, another first for any guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Ellen presented Chrissy with a framed family portrait taken at Disneyland. Tayt smiled as he held Ellen’s final gift: a $10,000 check from Shutterfly to help with Tayt’s medical expenses.
“He’s a child that when he walks in a room it doesn’t matter your mood. It doesn’t matter what your doing. It doesn’t matter where your at,” Chrissy Andersen said. “There’s something about his presence that automatically demands your attentions and it demands that he loves you.”
Chrissy said that Tayt is continually hugging strangers, and that his love is all encompassing and overwhelming.
“All of us have a gift for something but there are people like Tayt and Ellen that I think serve a greater purpose than some of us and their job honestly, I believe, is the love of Christ.” Chrissy Andersen said.
Tayt and his mother said they wish to express their gratitude to all the family, friends and neighbors that have helped to make Tayt’s wish come true.