Fourteen-year-old Chase Autrey of Fort Worth, Texas has battled cystic fibrosis since he was a toddler. With countless treatments and enough reality to last ten lifetimes, one of Chase’s favorite things to do is escape into Mull’s mythical world of Fablehaven, a secret preserve for magical creatures.
The Autrey family, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, found themselves again at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, in December, when doctors told the family Chase likely had three days to live, said his mother, Clover Autrey.
"His body is breaking down” she said. “It just has deteriorated to the point they're not sure he's got that much time left."
As doctors and nurses did all they could to keep young Chase from succumbing to the buildup in his lungs, his family braced for the worst. At one point, they didn’t expect him to make it through the night.
Chase had read all four volumes of the Fablehaven series and had been anticipating the March 23 release of the final book, Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison. Chase first became a fan of the Fablehaven series after listening to the first book on audio CD at his grandmother’s house. He was too sick to go out and play with his cousins, so the boy who “doesn’t like books” took a chance on the series, his mother said.
After that, he was hooked. His dying wish was to know how the Fablehaven story ends.
Thanks to A Wish With Wings, a Texas-based foundation that helps grant terminally ill children their final wishes, a special phone call came to Chase’s hospital room on Thursday, Dec. 10.
With his family gathered around, Chase took a call from LDS author Brandon Mull. In this small hospital room, with tearful nurses and tender-hearted family and friends watching, Chase became the only person in the world to hear the details of the final volume of his favorite story. “Now if I’m going to tell you this stuff from [book] five, you’re going to have to promise to keep this stuff a secret,” Mull told Chase. “We’ve got a pact,” his family responded in unison. Mull then revealed the entire plot to an eager Chase.