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Burj Dubai architect makes sick US boy's wishes come true

06/28/2009 05:54 PM | Staff Report

Tustin: Chance Mitchell, aged six, uses his Lego blocks and cardboard to construct his own super-structures. He also has to wear a pacemaker for the rest of his life.

He keeps a scale model of the Eiffel Tower at his Temecula home, but there's just one building model he's got to have – the 160-storey Burj Dubai tower, the world's tallest building which is nearing completion.

Chance became interested in the Dubai tower about a year ago, during an internet search for the world's tallest building.

The Californian reported that Mitchell is the latest recipient of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Orange County and the Inland Empire.

At the organisation's Wish House in Tustin, he received a four-foot scale model of the Dubai tower, built especially for him by Minnesota-based Red Eye ARC, as well as autographed original drawing of the structure, and a full-colour photo book by architect Adrian Smith.

But the day's highest point was the half-hour video web chat with Smith himself.

During their chat, Smith fielded a range of questions from Chance, from the number of residents the building can hold (up to 10,000), to whether the project will meet its projected September 2009 deadline.

The Burj Dubai will be completed by December, Smith said.

"What a blessing," said Chance's mother, Melissa Mitchell. "To share his life with us, this is amazing. I mean, this is a world-renowned architect taking time out of his life for a 6-year-old."

Chance has atrial septal defect, a condition in which the septum - the wall separating the heart's left and right chambers - has a hole. That causes the oxygen-rich blood from the left side to flow into the right, mixing with the oxygen-poor blood and returning to the lungs with it. That decreases the heart's efficiency, because a mix of oxygen-rich and -poor blood is being returned to the lungs, instead of all oxygen-poor blood.

Congenital cardiovascular defects such as ASD occur in about one percent of births, according to the American Heart Association.

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