Dressed in a blue tutu and sparkly pink-laced shoes, seven-year-old Blue arrived at the premiere of her music video like a true star. Family and friends took turns getting pictures of Blue and congratulating her on her wish-come-true.
Blue wished to star in a music video with her family. Her mom says music brings Blue joy. The two of them love watching music videos together on YouTube and swaying to the rhythm. The music of one singer in particular always puts a smile on her face. That singer is Tigard-native and American Idol (Season 11) alumna Candice Russell, who has battled a serious illness of her own. She said she didn’t even think twice when Make-A-Wish® Oregon asked her to be a part of Blue’s music video. “When I was given the chance to encourage and bring her hope in her time of need, like the many people who had done the same for me, it was not a matter of ‘if’ I would do it, it was only a matter of ‘when’.”
So Make-A-Wish Oregon teamed up with Candice and local production company Visual Aid to create a video featuring Candice’s song, “So Much More,” and staring Blue and her family. The producers at Visual Aid made sure the video reflected Blue’s personality by highlighting some of her favorite things, such as swimming, being with her family, and music.
One of the most poignant moments in the video took place at the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheatre, where hundreds of people gathered to watch Candice and her band perform. The scene brought together Blue’s family, friends, volunteers, and Make-A-Wish supporters – a testament that a child’s illness impacts more than just the child and the immediate family – it affects the entire community.
“I can’t wish for her to be healthy,” said Blue’s mom Cyndy, “but I can wish to have her surrounded by people who love her. It was important for us all that she got her wish. It was special to all of us.”
SO MUCH MORE
It was evident from her smiles at the premiere party that Blue enjoyed all the attention – from the flash of the paparazzi to the applause of her adoring fans.
For her and her family, the wish experience was more than something fun to look back upon. It marked a turning point. “Blue wasn’t doing well in the beginning,” explained Cyndy. “Since she made the wish, she’s been getting better and better – more alert, more comfortable around people.”
Candice said the wish experience also changed her. “As I watched and got to know Blue’s family through the music video process, I noticed that they were always smiling, laughing and having fun. Despite all the obstacles they have to face, they choose to be happy. Someone complimented Blue’s stepdad on his family’s joyful spirit and he said, ‘If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.’ It’s such a simple statement, but it has really stuck with me.”