An East Tennessee teen battling a rare genetic disorder came to life as a character in the Cartoon Network series "Teen Titans Go!" on Thursday night.
Maryville High School student Walter Thompson was transformed into an animated version of himself known as "Wally T," the Teen Titans' biggest fan and source of power.
"It feels like I'm being a star right now," Thompson said after seeing his character on television for the first time.
Thompson has dreams of becoming a voice actor, but his journey to the small screen has not been easy.
He has Barakat syndrome, in addition to renal failure and hearing impairment. Thompson needed a kidney transplant in 2014, and his mom stepped up to give him one of hers.
"It was just a long process and sad at times to watch him just literally come apart," said Thompson's mom, AmyBeth McBride.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation gave the family a bit of hope during this trying time. A volunteer with the foundation worked with Thompson and McBride to grant his wish of being a voice actor.
Make-A-Wish flew Thompson and his mom to California, where he worked with the cast and cartoon artist of "Teen Titans Go!" to create his character and voice the part of "Wally T."
"I was pretty much in tears the whole time," McBride said. "He just read right along and jumped in when it was his time to speak, and that, to me, that was just amazing to watch him."
Wally T appeared alongside the other characters from "Teen Titans Go!"
McBride said the animated version of Walter matched his outer appearance and personality.
"To see just the crazy, fun way that they incorporated Walter into that script specifically written for him, everything was just hilarious," McBride said.
Wally T said a few lines at the end of the episode, which was Thompson's big debut for the future career he hopes to have as a voice actor.
"That was the first step of being an actor," Thompson said.