A Rockin' Teen's Dream Comes True -- Make-A-Wish Has Struck A Chord

Dinner with Nirvana?

An autographed guitar from Pearl Jam?

A chance to jam with The Posies?

Joshua Hardy is having the time of his life. Diagnosed one year ago with a brain tumor, the 17-year-old was granted his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fulfills the dreams of terminally ill children.

Hardy's dream? Simple - to meet his favorite Seattle bands.

"We thought we'd go to some clubs and meet a band or two," said Hardy's father, Steve.

Instead, the Make-A-Wish Foundation whipped up a whirlwind weekend. It flew the Hardys from their Durham, N.H., home to visit Microsoft, the radio station KNDD "The End" 107.7 FM, the offices of the Sub Pop record label, the Bad Animals recording studio co-owned by Heart, and several clubs.

There were also a few surprises.

During the tour of the Microsoft campus in Redmond, the Hardys met Bill Gates. "He was wicked shy, but really nice," Hardy said.

KNDD DJ Bill Reid let Hardy announce a few club dates and chat on the air.

"I'm stunned," said Erl Hardy, Josh's uncle. "He's usually a shy kid. He's said a lot today."

Hardy also brought along his parents, Donna and Steve Hardy, brothers Ben, 15, and Nate, 13, and best friend Chris "Murph" Kasiewicz, 17.

Inspired by grunge and hard-core rock, Kasiewicz and Hardy formed a band two years ago. During Reid's show, one KNDD listener called in and offered her services for the band's work crew.

The biggest surprise yesterday was hanging out with members of Seattle's premiere bands on the rooftop of the Sub Pop downtown office. Hardy talked shop with members of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Posies, 7 Year Bitch, Love Battery, TAD, The Fastbacks, Monkey Wrench, Truly, The Young Fresh Fellows, Gas Huffer, Kill Sybil and Steel Wool.

"All it took was one phone call," said Debby Hambrick of Sub Pop. "None of the bands thought twice about it."

"We didn't expect all these bands to show up," said Susan Houk, coordinator of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Washington state. "It just snowballed. I'm impressed with this community."

"Josh is very shy," Donna Hardy said. "But he's so comfortable with the bands. He loves talking about music."

"What are you doing now?" Hardy asked Kim Thayil of Soundgarden.

"We're writing songs," Thayil said. "We're also just doing regular things, like watching TV and going to baseball games."

"Josh is so overwhelmed," Donna Hardy said. "Because of the tumor, he gets headaches all the time, but today he said he feels great."

Hardy also received several gifts - an autographed electric guitar from Pearl Jam, a poster from TAD, Soundgarden T-shirts, a 7 Year Bitch picture disc, and lots of tapes and CDs and singles.

Later that afternoon, Hardy went record shopping with the Posies. Tomorrow, Hardy will hang out with Nirvana.

"Music is an important part of Josh's life," his father said. "I drove Josh every day for six weeks to Boston for radiation treatment. During the drive, he'd blast away his favorite tapes. Music is something he looks forward to."

Hardy says he's a longtime Seattle music fan.

What's his favorite band?

Hardy shakes his head and smiles. "There's too many."