By Lori Miller, mother to Justin, St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2012 Ambassador Kid and Childhood Cancer Fighting Ninja
First and foremost, I want to thank the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer for allowing us to represent the collaboration of these two organizations on the Stand Up To Cancer Broadcast last Friday evening. We were proud to represent our beautiful ANGEL friends, our fellow cancer fighters, and those who will be following us in the future. We need cures now and the time is now, especially during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, to stand up and tell the world about childhood cancer.
When we first arrived, we were whisked off to the hair and makeup trailer. We meet several wonderful people including Justin’s hair and make-up specialist, Laura (Justin would have talked to her for hours, but he had a show to get to). Justin sat in the chair with his sunglasses on while he was being prepped – you know, because he is THAT FAMOUS! HA! We all enjoyed the pampering and were extra spoiled to share the trailer with gymnastic gold medalist, Gabby Douglass.
Once we were “red carpet ready,” we joined our St. Baldrick’s ensemble and started down the very long red carpet. This was way beyond our wildest dreams – seeing the stars that were there and all of the cameras, photographers and fans… way out of this world.
Once we made it to the end of the red carpet, we were taken to the Green Room where we waited for the show to start. Justin munched on sliders and Kelly, Justin’s sister, enjoyed many of the yummy bite size desserts.Then, it was show time. I knew our seats were good seats, but “good” couldn’t describe them. We were front row and mere feet away from the stage, so close to the actors we could almost jump up and touch them! The stories were full of determination and courage, love and hope. The actors were genuine. The singers were amazing.
As for Justin’s segment – I knew it was going to be awesome, but had no idea what to expect. The film team took over 20 hours of footage for our three minute segment, most of which was Justin being Justin. We weren’t allowed to be in his room when he was being interviewed, so seeing it for the first time on huge screens at the show was emotionally overwhelming (until he got to the “I am a Ninja” part, of course).
After the show, we were inundated with incredible words of encouragement and inspiration. Mobs of people wanted to talk with Justin – he was so proud. The best feeling was when a pediatric oncologist came up to me and told me that I would never understand the impact of this segment on the world of childhood cancer, that it brought light to the need for increased funding and research.
We are forever grateful to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and their quest for cures. We are also grateful to Stand Up To Cancer for pursuing a childhood cancer dream team* with St. Baldrick’s to create collaborative research and find cures. Research is why Justin is here with us today.
We loved every second of the experience and I am so proud to be Justin’s mom.
*Formerly known as the St. Baldrick’s – Stand Up to Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, this team is now the St. Baldrick’s EPICC Team (Empowering Pediatric Immunotherapies for Childhood Cancer).