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Dying Girl’s Last Wish: To See UP

More heart-breaking than the first ten minutes of Up: this story from the Orange County Register.

A dying 10 year old with a rare form of cancer wanted to see Up. Her mother cold called Pixar and got through to the right person. The next day “a Pixar employee” came to the girl’s house with the DVD and a bag of stuffed animals of characters in the movie. “He shared some quirky background details of the movie and the group settled in to watch Up.”

There’s a lot of speculation as to who the “Pixar employee” is, but more important is that the act happened at all. Read the full story here.

  • Aldon

    I read this story last night, and I must say that it is the first time I’ve cried since seeing UP. Yet another reason why pixar is awesome.

  • Mesterius

    Wow, this is an amazing and heart-breaking story. And even when it’s Pixar we’re talking about, I’m honestly surpriced it actually happened. What a wonderful thing to do.

  • Paul N

    You gotta warn a guy about how the story ends – it hit me like a fist in the chest. Aldon wasn’t the only one who couldn’t keep his eyes from leaking.

    Sad ending, but a great story. Wonderful that Pixar could bring some enjoyment to that little girl’s last day.

  • John Field

    On the topic of Death and Movies, my good friend Robert Shayne had a son named Robert Jr. He was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors told Bob Sr. and his family that it was terminal. As one of his last requests, Bob Jr. wanted to see RETURN OF THE JEDI. It was a long time from being released to theaters. Betty Shayne, Bob’s wife and the Mother of Bob Jr. had an attorney get a hold of the people at George Lucas. Lucas came thru with flying colors and delivered a video tape of the film. From his bed, Bob watched and (even thou it had those damn Ewoks), enjoyed it very much.
    It has always been my observation that the allure of cinematic magic in our everyday lives is one of our favorite constants. And even facing the inevitability of death, the same magic of films gives us hope and calms our souls.
    Keep making that Magic people.

  • Very touching.

    Good work, Pixar. The “Old Man” would be proud of you.

  • J

    “Colby went to see the Dream Works 3-D movie “Monsters Vs. Aliens” but was impressed by the previews to “Up.””

    Very telling.

  • Perhaps, the “Pixar employee” was John Lasseter?

  • “When I watched it, I had really no idea about the content of the theme of the movie,” said Curtin, 46. “I just know that word ‘Up’ and all of the balloons and I swear to you, for me it meant that (Colby) was going to go up. Up to heaven.”

    It’s so awkward to start crying at the office. Oh well… Kudos to the Pixar crew.

  • At least she saw “Up” instead of a bunch of mindless Paramount cartoons transfered from the UCLA vaults.

    I also would have wished to see Rose Bloomfield.

    Sorry, but I felt kinda gigglish today- I shouldn’t be laughing. I just heard the Spongebob episode “Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost” in the background while reading this. Keep in mind that the computer is in a public area.

  • Good on ya Pixar

  • That is so sad.

  • Patrick

    Nothing like uncontrollably sobbing at my desk at work on a Friday afternoon…

    Again, Pixar is classy.

  • I was wondering when you guys would get around to blogging this.

    Can you imagine it happening with one of Dreamwork’s movies? “But I HAVE to know what the wacky penguins do next!!”

  • Tom Heres

    This is sweet and sad. My heart goes out to her family, and I feel an even greater warmth for Pixar than I already felt.

    I don’t know why, but something in it makes me not want to feel “giggly” or promote myself and my blog.

  • Sara

    It’s kind of nice that Pixar is evidently not making a huge deal out of this. It could be that they smply don’t want to be inundated with calls asking for private screenings of “Up” for sick children. But even if that is the case, declining to comment on the story rather than making a big deal about how charitable they’re being seems classy as well.

    I think the saddest part of the article was how the little girl’s mother had to describe the film to her because her eyes were shut from sheer pain. No kid should ever have to suffer that much. My sincere condolences to her family and friends.

  • Tom Heres:

    I think that feeling is called “being human.”

  • sporridge

    When I was in the home video industry (ancient VHS era), the daughter of a dying woman called, asking if we had access to an obscure 30s MGM musical she hoped to see one last time. The copy we tracked down was too far flung to reach them promptly, and although we did what we could (I was ready to pay for FedEx overnight from my own wallet), I went home very sad that day.

    Kudos to Pixar for making this happen, and condolences to Colby’s family.

  • wow

  • Doofus

    Good God. Pixar rules. Thanks for posting this Jerry.

  • startend

    Not only did she get her wish, but she DID DIE only hours after the film ended.


  • Rose

    Like the film both heartbreaking and beautiful.

    …and of a love that will last forever.

    What a wonderful thing to do, and what a sadness it is to lose those we love.

  • Very sweet of Pixar to do on the last day of this girl’s life. I wonder how she survived the first ten minutes of the movie though.

    I’m guessing this “Pixar executive” was the film’s director, Pete Doctor.

  • Steve

    Too bad this sweet and heart breaking story is filled with a couple of tasteless Dreamworks bashes in the comment section. Some people just have no class. The little girl passed away for crying out loud, have some respect for the situation people.

  • Artisticulated

    I second Ryan’s wow.

    Good and kind and sweet and sad and lovely.

  • joe s

    didn’t think i would be sobbing like crazy at 1:30 a.m. but it feels kinda good.

  • Greg Manwaring

    Bravo Pixar!

    Don Hahn and Peter Schneider did the same thing for a fellow animator who was on his deathbed, back during the production of Lion King. Many of you may remember Ray “Supreme” Johnson, as he had gone to CalArts and worked on the Simpsons? I visited him at St. Joe’s, across from Disney, and saw that he only had a short time to live, so when he told me he would love nothing more than to see the Lion King I gave Don a call. He told me to call Peter, who promptly had a mutual friend of ours take a tape over to show Ray!! I was so grateful to them for their kind gesture. Ray loved the film and passed away a week later.

  • Billy Batz

    I never cried untill Pixar showed me how.

  • This is a wonderful thing that Pixar did. It is the kind of gesture their late great storyman Joe Ranft did all the time. The sprit of Joe is still with Pixar.

  • Tom

    Incredible, touching story. Huge kudos to Pixar.

  • gdX

    My Grinch heart grew three sizes yesterday.

    Very classy, in both the act and the low profile… I haven’t been this proud to be a Northern Californian since the Niners won their last Super Bowl… I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re mighty fond of our little film company in Emeryville.

  • TsimoneTseTse

    True class is Pixar/Disney not turning this inspiring, heartwrenching story into a media circus event. My admiration goes to the family member & exec who selflessly carried these wishes out.

    I, too, made the “mistake” of reading the article cold to my family – didn’t make it.

    My condolences and prayers to the Curtin family & the memory of their beautiful daughter Colby, who has lifted many of us, up.

  • Mike Johnson

    She saw UP and then went UP…

    What a remarkable story. Pixar is, as usual, full of win.

    I know many folks at Pixar have kids of their own, and it’s very UP-lifting to see that they view kids as people and not just dollar signs.

    My heart truly sorrows for the family but it also warms from the love, not just from Pixar to little Colby, but from a little girl to the films that made her own heart sing, and hold out for one last shot.

    Hey Pixar, how ’bout having a nice “In Memory Of Colby” added to your next film? She sure remembered all of yours…

  • Gerard de Souza

    Very classy cutting through the bureaucracy and being human.

  • Well done gentlemen.

  • MattSullivan

    No PERSON should have to suffer that much, but especially a kid who won’t even get a chance to grow up.

    I love being part of such a caring industry. That’s some class act on Pixar’s part.

  • OtherDan

    So sad, I’m glad she made it long enough to see the movie. It must have been a very bitter sweet viewing. My condolences to her family, and it’s nice to hear that they did that for her. That’s what it’s all about.

  • Keith Paynter

    What a wonderful, selfless gesture.

  • It took me several days for the emotions from this piece to subside enough to comment.

    The heart of the family, the company and little Colby herself is incredible enough… and this whole presentation for her… simply amazing! Thank you to the company so much for reaching out and realising that making dreams happen really does count in this world.

    Thanks so much to everyone involved in making this particular magical dream come true!