In discussions about an upcoming family trip to Hawaii, Brock Warner told his mother what would make it perfect.
"He literally said 'The only thing that would make this better is if Elvis jumped out and sang songs with me,'" Jody Warner said.
Having already funded and organized the trip for 17-year-old Warner, who suffers from a liver disease, Make-A-Wish Montana added an extra wrinkle to Warner's "Aloha" farewell party on Saturday at Bones Arcade in Billings.
As family and friends gathered to start the party, Make-A-Wish Montana board member Adam Tunning made an announcement.
"We have a special guest from Graceland," he said, as local Elvis impersonator Joey Traywick strutted into the room in full costume.
Running through some of Presley's greatest hits—including a particularly appropriate version of "Blue Hawaii"—Traywick and Warner had the whole room dancing, singing and pounding on tables.
Asked by Tunning what he would look forward to the most about his tropical trip, Warner didn't hesitate to express his excitement at the prospect of leaving a cold, snowy Billings behind. "Warm weather," he said.
Warner suffers from Alpha-1 antitripsyn liver disease, which affects the liver's production of certain proteins and can lead to lung problems, said his father Kirk Warner.
Between surgery, medical appointments and moves across state lines, Brock Warner suggested that Elvis Presley has been a good friend of late. Putting an old record on at night in his room, Warner said it brings him joy to imagine himself in the shoes of the iconic musician playing for a sold-out crowd.
Warner said he has long been a fan of vintage clothing and music, but what makes Elvis stand out to him especially is the way in which his music and performances seem to straddle genres in a distinct style.
"When they said 'a guest from Graceland,' my mind went blank," Warner said. "Honestly, I just love his music."