As if we didn’t love Chris Pratt enough already, he’s done something to make us love him even more. The actor has lent his stardom to a fundraising effort for a 12-year-old boy with brain cancer – and the support has garnered $90,000 so far.
Joe Henson was diagnosed with an aggressive medulloblastoma last summer and had surgery shortly afterward. He is at home with his family, trying to get well. His mother, Angela, reached out to Chris to help promote a fundraiser for Joe’s medical care, she told NBC News.
Although she is optimistic, the brain cancer has robbed her son of a lot.
“He has lost the ability to do things that we all take for granted: Talking, swallowing, breathing on his own, holding up his head, sitting up, even moving the left side of his face. Imagine being cognitively aware of your surroundings but having the inability to express anything. He can only blink with his right eye and shake his head no. Joe came to Johns Hopkins with the ability to do everything that we can all do and the surgery has taken all of that away from him.”
Before he went into surgery – which also stole his voice due to a tracheotomy – her son cheered everyone with an oft-repeated phrase of his father’s, the Huffington Post reported: “Dad always taught me that fear isn’t real, it’s all in your head.”
Sadly, his father died four years ago in a car accident. But his motto became the rallying cry of the GiveForward fundraiser “Fear Isn’t Real,” meant to support ongoing medical care and chemotherapy to rid him of brain cancer. It’s that campaign Chris Pratt has lent his stardom to support.
It began with family friend Melanie Selway and her husband Jay; they started the fundraiser. Turns out, Jay grew up in the same neighborhood as Pratt’s wife, Anna Faris’. The Selways reached out to her family to ask if she and Chris would spread the “Fear Isn’t Real” campaign on social media. Two days before the huge release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt did just that and donations exploded.
“Fear Isn’t Real” T-shirts were created to support fundraising efforts, this time through Booster, and Chris didn’t hesitate to promote those either. Pratt posted about the T-shirts with the hashtag #FearIsntReal and asked his 1.7 million followers to respond with photos of themselves wearing the shirts. About 3,400 shirts have been sold so far.
With Chris Pratt on the campaign, Angela is concentrating on getting her son care at home. But recovery isn’t easy.
“Knowing that kind souls, from my friends to Chris Pratt, rallying behind Joe is quite overwhelming. I will be forever grateful to everyone involved in getting Joe better. We all believe with the right therapy, Joe can overcome everything that this (brain) cancer… has taken from him. He is my hero. His daddy is so very proud of him and so am I.”
[Photo Courtesy Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]