When Make-A-Wish America contacted me saying “We’ve had our first wish request for Miss Nina” I was astounded and humbled. The email read:
Mary, a wish child from Minnesota, has battled her entire life with severe epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis. Her greatest wish is to meet Miss Nina. Mary chose this wish because she watches you every day on YouTube and loves singing and dancing along to your songs. Mary waits in anticipation for weekly emails indicating there are new uploaded videos. The videos bring so much joy to Mary’s day. Ideally, Mary would love to be a part of Miss Nina’s live show. She’d like to be on stage or in a video that later airs on YouTube.
I did not hesitate. I wrote back immediately to say “yes!”. As we were looking at dates and I was trying to figure out when there might be a good live show Mary could join me at – I came up with an idea: a VIP Video Shoot experience at the actual YouTube Space in New York City. We all loved the idea and got to planning! I assembled a team and the big day finally arrived – April 15th, 2017!
I was really excited to meet Mary. And I can’t quite put into words how meaningful this experience was. To be honest, just a week or so before I received that email from Make-A-Wish back in November, I’d had a somewhat dark moment where I was feeling like what I did was silly and frivolous and that perhaps I should stop. Receiving the email and information about Mary gave me a renewed sense of purpose, focus and commitment. In a way, before we’d even met, she’d become my video show muse. 🙂
I know everyone thinks I’ve done something for Mary by helping to fulfill her wish, but I think this event may have done more for me! I’ve never experienced being a room with so much love and generosity as I did that day. Never. It came from everyone in the room. But Mary herself is joy personified!
Make-A-Wish had let me know that Mary is 14 years old, and has physical, cognitive and communication delays. She functions equivalent to 4-5 year old. Mary can express her needs/wants and can understand and follow receptive information and what others are saying to her, even follow along with a story. However, she is much more limited with her expressive communication. Any type of formal communication is very difficult for Mary. But she is very social and happy in the presence of her family and friends. So although a little shy at first, we bonded right away.
I brought her to the studio for a little rehearsal/ warm-up to get her comfortable and then we went to Hair & Make-up to give her Star Treatment by Jackie Menconi of Jaxx Make-Up.
We got back in the studio and did just two takes of the show. It was amazing to witness that although Mary did not have a lot of expressive communication, she loves to sing! As you’ll see in the video she slowly starts joining me in singing Down By The Bay (by Raffi), and then by the time we sing You Are My Sunshine she’s belting it out right along with me!
To say that the day was magical is an understatement! Everything and everyone exceeded my happiest expectations & it was such a privilege, honor and pleasure to meet Mary and fulfill her Make-A-Wish wish! And I have to thank David Mishner, Scott Richard & Kar Kay Ho from Spry & Mighty. I truly could not have made this video without them and am so grateful for their generosity in contributing their time, talent, sill and heart. These are three guys of the highest character.
And one last shout out to my husband, Tucker Stone, (aka Mister Nina) who was available to us all in every way to help make this day special for Mary and support us all in doing our various jobs, selflessly contributing his time, energy and heart.
So now, here it is, Mary’s Wish Video with Miss Nina, made at the YouTube Space in NYC on April 15th, 2017: Down By The Bay, by Raffi, and You Are My Sunshine
We certainly hope you enjoy this video! Feel free to share it – whether you share this blog post or the YouTube Video – all is good!
And if you’d like to leave a comment right here on this blog post, we’d love to hear from you!
Wishing you all a wonderful week!