“Right. Captain Kori, I hear tales of something they speak about the ages of now called the ‘YouTube,’” Jack Sparrow (aka Johnny Depp) said at the start of his message to Kori Parkin-Stovell, an 11-year-old boy from Ripley, Derbyshire, England, who is dealing with, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a terminal condition. Depp, 59, transformed into his Pirates of the Caribbean character to help Kori – aka Kraken The Box on YouTube – grow his channel. “I understand you’re quite the YouYube channel man… so what I’m saying is I would be glad to follow your YouTube channel and will tell all my friends to follow your YouTube channel,” said Jack.
With Jack’s trademark stammering and meandering, Depp delivered a sweet message to his young fan. “I shall be there, watching every moment, and watching moments with you, momenting and Tubing, Tubing your YouTubing. I wish you the best of luck. I am your number one fan, Captain Kori. All respect and love.”
Depp did more than send a message. In a video shared on the channel on Dec. 14, Kori and Captain Jack had a video call. “Nice to see you,” Johnny and Jack said to Kori. The two had a fun back and forth, with Jack having a lovely chat with his fan.
Kori’s mother, Pixi, told the BBC that the message was arranged through the Make-A-Wish charity. Kori had hoped to get over 100,00 subscribers, and with help from Depp and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kraken The Box had over 170k by Dec. 15. “YO HO ME HEARTIES! Follow me, Captain Kori, and me crew mate Pixi, as we discover the treasures to be found in the pirate wonderland of urbex, unboxing, and adventures!!” reads the channel’s description. Thanks to his celebrity friends, more and more people are tuning into Kori’s channel and joining him for this final leg of his journey.
Kori was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which meant that the left side of his heart had not developed properly. He underwent a heart transplant in 2018, but the organ was rejected. He underwent a second transplant in January 2021, but the body did not accept the new heart.
“He has always stated if he ever needed another transplant, it is something he would never go through again, so the second they told me the news, I knew this was only ever going to go one way,” his mother told the BBC. “There is no cure now. The first transplant wasn’t easy, but it went quite well. The second one was extremely traumatic for him. It was extremely painful and drawn-out, and he had to learn to walk and talk [again]. He said he would much rather pass away than have to go through anything like that ever, ever again.
“It wasn’t just his decision,” she added, “it was with the medical team as well, and it wasn’t taken lightly, but he has had a big part in this decision, and he understands what is going to happen.”
Kori is now under palliative care, with the family preparing for this to be his last Christmas. “He is very positive, and we are making the most of the time we have left,” she added.
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