NJ Mayor, Terminally Ill Son at White House St. Pat's Dinner - NBC4 Washington
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NJ Mayor, Terminally Ill Son at White House St. Pat's Dinner



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    A mayor from New Jersey and his terminally ill son were treated to an early St. Patrick's Day meal Thursday night at the White House.

    Sayreville Mayor Kennedy O'Brien said the White House "moved heaven and earth" to get his 42-year-old son to the dinner with President Donald Trump and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

    Patrick Sean O'Brien suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a neurodegenerative disease. He is a filmmaker whose documentary "TransFatty Lives" is a first-person chronicle of his battle. In one scene of the film, O'Brien sits naked in his wheelchair outside of the White House to raise awareness of ALS. 

    His father said Trump shook his son's hand, as did Kenny and Kenny's wife.

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    "It doesn't happen often in your lifetime that you get to meet the president. The whole White House staff was so accommodating," said the elder O'Brien.

    "It was a heck of a night for a father and son," he said. 

    O'Brien said his son was diagnosed in 2005 and was given no more than five years to live. He's now paralyzed and on a ventilator. He was brought to the White House Thursday from the center for ALS patients in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he lives.

    The Republican said Thursday's dinner at the White House had special meaning for them. His son used to live on Manhattan's Lower East Side and the two would celebrate St. Patrick's Day together in New York City.

    O'Brien said making it to the dinner was a tribute to St. Patrick and all the people who helped them get there.