ELIZABETHTOWN - 15-year old Brock Marvin has been through a lot in the past year, but last week he had the experience of a lifetime.
Marvin, who suffered a life-threatening heart attack last April, has since been undergoing treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy. The genetic disorder has caused his heart to grow four times the size of a normal heart and pump blood at a rate significantly lower than the average person.
Though he has been able to lead an otherwise normal lifestyle, the honor roll student and star athlete had to give up many activities that raise his heart rate, including the sports he loves.
One sport he was allowed to continue, however, was golf.
"I've been into golf since just after the heart attack," Marvin said. "I've really started to enjoy it."
That's why when Marvin and his family were informed by the Make-a-Wish foundation that he was eligible to participate in their program, he asked to go with his father and younger brother to the Bob Hope Classic, a pro-am celebrity golf tournament held in LaQuinta, CA.
"The Bob Hope Classic has a diverse group of celebrities and golfers," Marvin said. "Plus, the weather is always gorgeous down there."
About a week prior to the Bob Hope Classic on Jan. 10, Marvin was informed that he and his family members were invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to the tournament. Still, he was unaware of the many surprises that awaited him there.
While at the tournament from Jan 21-25, Brock, his father, Walter, and brother, Connor, got to mingle with dozens of celebrities including everyone from Alice Cooper to Dan Quayle.
The greatest surprise came that Saturday when tournament officials arranged for Brock to meet with Hall of Fame golfer Arnold Palmer.
"It was crazy," Brock said. "The guy is a legend. Just being in the same room with him was amazing."