Chris Pratt is already known for being a superhero to kids in need, as shown by his #TwitterBowl bet with Chris Evans. Twelve year old Joe Henson’s family recently announced that with Pratt’s help, they have raised over $92,000 for Joe’s fight against brain cancer.
In June of last year, Joe was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor, three years after his father died in a car crash. Joe has since undergone brain surgery, but lost his voice following a tracheotomy.
Joe’s mother Angela recalled that just before his surgery, Joe repeated a phrase his father taught him: “Fear isn’t real, it’s all in your head.”
After his surgery, Joe still returns to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore once a month for chemotherapy.
Some friends of Angela, Jay and Melanie Selway, launched a GiveForward campaign called “Fear Isn’t Real: Helping Joe Henson” in order to help fund Joe’s treatment.
Since Jay grew up with Chris Pratt’s wife, Anna Faris, he contacted their family to ask Pratt to promote the campaign via social media.
Just before the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy” in July of last year, Pratt sent out a tweet that read: “To promote something more important,” with the link of Joe’s GiveForward page. Joe’s family designed “Fear Isn’t Real” t-shirts to sell as a fundraiser. Pratt encouraged followers to respond with photos of the t-shirts and the tag #FearIsntReal.
“Donations just exploded,” Melanie said in an interview. “I let everybody know that we were selling the T-shirts … and [Pratt] grabbed onto that, all on his own. We sold 300 T-shirts in two days. It was insane.”
As of last week, the campaign has raised nearly $92,000 and sold 3,200 shirts.
Although the campaign has been successful, Joe’s recovery is still a struggle. Angela remains hopeful, but her primary goal is to secure care for her son.
“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. 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,” she explained.
“Knowing that kind souls, from my friends to Chris Pratt, [are] rallying behind Joe is quite overwhelming. I will be forever grateful to everyone involved in getting Joe better.”