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Web posted Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Foundation arranges meeting with Bush
A wish come true
By J. Scott Trubey
Staff Writer

A 9-year-old Evans girl with a rare blood disorder had a dream fulfilled recently when the Make a Wish Foundation granted her the chance to meet President Bush and tour the White House.

Julia Smith says she wants to be president one day and her greatest wish was to meet the commander-in-chief and visit 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Julia was born with Glanzmann's thrombasthenia and is missing proteins necessary for her blood to clot. As a result, she suffers excruciating bruises caused by common childhood activities, and is susceptible to life-threatening internal bleeding.

After waiting more than a year for her wish to be granted, Julia and her family learned Sept. 14 they were going to Washington, D.C.

Julia Smith, 9, of Evans, met President Bush on Sept. 19 during a trip arranged by the Make A Wish Foundation. Julia was born with a rare, life-threatening blood disorder. She was accompanied on the trip by her brother, Milledge, mother, Helen, sister, Taylor, and father, Alan.

On Sept. 19, Julia and her family met with President Bush and got a behind-the-scenes tour of the White House with members of the U.S. Secret Service.

"Before we knew it, the president rounded the corner," said Julia's mother, Helen Smith. "He rubbed his hands together like he was excited and kind of hop-skipped straight to Julia."

Mrs. Smith said the president instantly put the family at ease, and talked to Julia about school. Bush also gave the Augusta Prep third-grader an engraved silver bookmark with the presidential seal.

"He is really nice. He was like a regular person," Julia said.

During the trip, Julia learned the president can watch movies before they're released. She also learned Bush's dogs, Barney and Miss Beasley, have their own room in the private residence, but also share a room with the president and first lady.

Julia even got to witness a little of what life is like as president. After the 10-minute meeting in the Diplomat Room ended, the Smith family escorted Bush onto the South Lawn where a throng of photographers awaited the president's departure on Marine One.

In all, Julia and her family spent four days in Washington, D.C., and also watched the Senate in session and toured the Capitol after hours.

Julia, who isn't eligible to run for president until 2036, said she enjoyed meeting the president and said her future office was "pretty."

"I think it would be cool to run the country," she said.

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