In a viral video, families of pediatric cancer patients at Methodist Children’s Hospital used the power of social media to ask a favor of pop star Justin Timberlake: “J-T see me.”
Methodist Children’s staff posted an approximately one minute long visual of patients who made personal pleas to the Grammy award-winning artist with posters and banners, reading “J-T see me”, while singing and dancing to his hit song Can’t Stop the Feeling! from the animated motion picture “Trolls”.
“We have several pediatric patients who stay in our cancer units for months on end,” said Methodist Children’s Child Life Specialist Ashley Farish. “It’s tough and takes an emotional toll on both the children and their families. We’ve come to realize the healing effects of helping these kids feel like kids, not cancer patients. The excitement of special visitors has a tremendous impact on their healing,” Farish added.
Scheduled to perform in San Antonio on Saturday, Timberlake, who said the patients dancing in the video is what caught his eye, made a detour to Methodist Children’s, an HCA Healthcare affiliated hospital, to meet the viral “stars”.
During his one hour and 45 minute visit, he joined 14-year old Reggie Daniel in a bell-ringing ceremony, signaling the end of his cancer treatment; visited with Yadira Benavides,11, who gave him a cross that she always kept on her IV pole; and met Donovan, 18, whose ecstatic scream following his personal meet and greet made even Timberlake laugh.
The Methodist Children’s viral video plea touched the hearts of many San Antonians, including school teacher Cynthia Ramirez. She donated her tickets to Maria, a 21-year old cancer patient.
Ramirez told the local CBS affiliate, “I just knew those tickets were not meant for me, they were meant for someone else. So I contacted the hospital and I found out one of the patients here was actually cleared to go.”
It will be the first concert-ever for Maria, who will be given the all-star treatment on Saturday by her caregivers at Methodist Children’s and Timberlake. She was gifted a new outfit and white Converse – something she’s always wanted – from her healthcare team and will ride to the concert in a limo. (Watch Methodist Children’s Hospital Facebook Live at around 6 p.m. CST on Saturday, January 19 to watch Maria head off to the concert.)
Maria won’t be traveling alone. Her new friend, Cynthia, received two VIP tickets from Timberlake for her act of kindness.
It was a surprising and heartwarming day for the children and their families, and one they won’t soon forget.
Thank you, JT, for helping to create the ultimate patient experience!
Watch the video that made this all happen below.
Methodist Children’s Hospital, a campus of Methodist Hospital, is an affiliate of HCA Healthcare and Methodist Healthcare Ministries, South Texas’ largest non-public funding source of community health care.