CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We've seen some pretty cool "prom-posals" over the years, but Santiago Rueda's might be the most heartwarming, albeit, a bit of a longshot!
But once you read how this young man defied the odds throughout his life, who knows, this dream date with a Hollywood star just might come true.
"Me and my mom were just thinking of ways that we wanted to do it, and I knew I wanted my team to get involved. What's better than getting a bunch of people on your team to help you out?" Santi told me.
His "team" is from the Charlotte Rollin' Hornets, a non-profit organization with competitive basketball teams for teens and adults who have physical challenges. They play ball in specially designed sports wheelchairs.
Together, Santi and his team produced a video asking Santi's dream date, actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld, to his prom May 12 at South Iredell High School.
Excited, he told me, "I just loved her in 'Pitch Perfect' 2 and 3. Hailee is an amazing actress and singer! She's got a really good personality and she seems like a really nice person and sweet!"
"He could probably recite every word in those movies," his mom, Serena Mercer, told me.
Santi admits getting a busy actress to stop her life and go to his prom is a long shot. But...
"I just want people to help me get the video out there. If Hailee just sees it and she says 'No,' I don't mind. I'll just be happy that she sees it," he told me, bubbling over at the thought she might actually see it!
I think Hailee would be lucky to go to prom with Santi. He's an amazing guy!
Full disclosure here - I've known him for a few years through The Sandbox, a non-profit organization that helps families with kids who have life-altering and life-threatening conditions.
Last year at the annual "An Evening of Believing Prom" put on by The Sanbox, Santi Rueda was crowned Prom King. He beamed when it was announced.
Santi's smile lights up every room he enters.
And to think, at her first sonogram his mom was encouraged to end the pregnancy when doctors realized the baby's spine was exposed. Spina Bifida was the diagnosis.
"I was in shock. I have two older children that were completely healthy. I expected to go in to find out if I was going to have a boy or a girl. Not to find out I was having a child who might not make it to his first birthday," Serena remembers.
Until he was old enough to have a spinal fusion, baby Santiago, Santi for short, was treated with tender care.
"He literally had to be held like a fragile egg, first two years were extremely tough. Once he had his surgery, he was like any child crawling around and getting into everything."
"There were stares and of course people whispering, we had to deal with that. He started out at a school for children with special needs. But many of them couldn't communicate. And he came home one day and said, 'I want to go to a regular school!' He's thrived in mainstream schools ever since," Serena told me, beaming with pride.
While he's proud of all he's accomplished with the challenges he's faced, he gives his mom much of the credit for his success.
"My relationship with my mom is very special. She's been there with me for all my surgeries, I'm just happy she's been there for me. We've been through a lot over the past years. I am just thankful for my mom for helping me out so much. I am very thankful for her and I love her for doing that for me!"
So, let's help Santi get his message to Hailee Steinfeld! SHARE! SHARE! SHARE!!
Remember, even if she says no, Santi says, "I just want her to see it!"