Harpo producers are calling on some of the best contacts in their address books to help make dreams come true for some very deserving guests.
When the show got a letter about an inspirational 19-year-old named Jackie, everyone sprung to action. "Jackie is a straight-A student at Michigan State University. She's also a talented improv artist and a member of the college's comedy troupe," writes Peggy, a friend of Jackie's.
Jackie was forced to leave college after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Gilda's Club—a cancer support network formed in the honor of Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989—made one of her dreams come true with tickets to a taping of Saturday Night Live with host Justin Timberlake.
Still, Oprah and some very special friends from Saturday Night Live wanted to do more—and a secret plan was hatched. The first step: Get Jackie to Chicago. Jackie's shocked when Oprah reads Peggy's letter and invites her onstage.
Oprah asks how Jackie's feeling. "I'm feeling good," Jackie says. "It's easy when it's easy to laugh. I have a lot of fun friends at school that help and best friends and family."
The cast of Saturday Night Live also makes Jackie laugh, so Oprah has cast members Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis standing by with a message.
They're checking in from New York City...or are they? "We're Skyping from here," Andy says.
Andy, Kristen and Jason surprise Jackie onstage with more good news. "Aside from coming to the show, we're going to have you come hang out with us during the week while we rehearse and meet our host, Justin Timberlake," Andy says.
Jackie's left nearly speechless. "Oh my!" she says.
In November 2008, Dr. Oz introduced us to Brenden Adams, a 12-year-old with a genetic abnormality that causes him to keep growing. Brenden stands at 7'4" tall—an inch taller than when he first met Dr. Oz—and shared the struggles he faces living in an average-size world.
Brenden also revealed that NBA star Shaquille O'Neal was one of his heroes. "That's because I could look at him at eye level," he said.
When Shaq heard about Brenden, he wanted to surprise him with the offer of a lifetime—some one-on-one hang time. "We're going to fly you and your family to Phoenix to a game," Shaq said. "You'll hang out with me, we'll ride around, go shopping, go to the mall. We'll just have fun, because I'm 12 years old also."
After the show, Shaq hooked up his new best friend with an action-packed all-star weekend. Brenden and his mom flew to Phoenix and landed front-row seats to a Suns game.
After the game, Shaq gave Brenden a backstage tour of the team's training and locker rooms—not to mention shoes so new that they aren't even on the market!
Next, Brenden and Shaq get into his souped up Shaq-mobile and head off to a five-star dinner. The next day, Brenden is fitted for a new custom wardrobe, designed by Shaq's personal tailor!
Since meeting Shaq, Brenden has learned to play basketball. "I just want you to do one thing," Shaq says. "Stay positive. Follow your dreams and just be happy, brother. You're tall for a reason. Trust me on this. The girls like tall guys."