Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 4:48 p.m.
On Friday, Sabrina Linhares wore a dreamcatcher shirt to her middle school, St. Pius V School in Buena Park. It was a significant choice, but as her teacher Natalie Frazee remarked, Linhares had no idea her dream was really coming true that day.
The 13-year-old Linhares attended St. Pius V until she was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in October 2011. Now home-schooled due to intense treatment and chemotherapy, Linhares' classmates came up with two pages of ideas to cheer her up.
One of the ideas was a long shot--to help her meet her favorite musician, Australian singer Cody Simpson. Frazee described Linhares' love for Simpson as an obsession. "She signs her name as 'Sabrina Simpson,'" Frazee said. "She has all of her books covered in pictures of him...and on free dress days, she will always wear a shirt with him on it."
It was a plan: to make it work, Linhares' 7th and 8th grade classmates wrote 114 letters to the 15-year-old pop singer, explaining Linhares' love for him. They asked if he could do something--anything--to help. "They were the ones that initiated it," Frazee said. "All I did basically was fulfill it. The idea and the hardwork came from them."
On Dec. 14, Simpson's father Brad called Frazee.
"There was such a large amount of [letters]; it was like, wow, the kids in this school put a ton of effort into taking the chance that I would see the letters and come to the school," Cody Simpson said. "When I saw that, and especially Sabrina's hard work, what she's going through...I love making people's dreams come true."
The plan was kept a surprise from Linhares. When her parents brought her to St. Pius V, all they told her was that her classmates had made a slideshow for her. The seventh and eighth grade students filed into the auditorium and sat on the floor facing a large projector screen. When Sabrina arrived, they played a slideshow in her honor. It began with baby and childhood pictures that invoked a few "aww"s from the audience, then transitioned into silly pictures and personalized messages from her classmates. Of course, "All Day" and "On My Mind" by Cody Simpson played in the background.
After the presentation, Frazee came to the microphone and told Linhares how her classmates had contacted Cody Simpson--and he responded by sending her a signed CD. Then, Frazee announced Simpson had actually come to meet her, along with his family.
Cody Simpson walked into the auditorium to meet a speechless Linhares. He played his song, "Angel," and did a Q&A with the audience.
Someone asked, "Do you ever get tired of being famous?" Simpson replied, "No, because I can make people's dreams come true, like Sabrina. That means more than anything."
Another student asked how he knew Kylie Jenner, the Kardashian's half-sister and reality show personality. He said that people often say they are dating when they see them together, but they are good friends and he's single. (There were several "Yes!" exclamations from the audience).
"It's amazing to know that I can sign someone's t-shirt or take a picture with them and just make their whole day or whole year," Simpson said. "It's very cool to see I have the power to do that. It was more than a pleasure to drive down and do this."
He said his favorite part of the day was "when I sung that song, 'Angel,' and when I saw the smiles on the students' faces and the smile on Sabrina's face; that music has the power to do that. It's great."
Frazee described Linhares as a dedicated and kind student. "She is big, big hearted. She'll do anything for her friends, is always the person who will stay behind in class and push in the chairs and help teachers with whatever they need without being asked."
Frazee expressed similar sentiments on what she thought of Friday. "Days like today can really help somebody who is going through a long process," she said. "Her treatment is going to be at least two-and-a-half years and she's going to remember this day for the rest of her life. A lot of people can do this for other people; if they put forth the effort, a lot of good can come of it."