Misused/unused celebrity status

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Some people have it and some people don’t.

Celebrity status is something many people wish for, few have, and even fewer use wisely. I know of some who have not tamed the beast and it controls them. Some have pretended to disdain celebrity status but in reality play games with their audience or the public. They are what Clint Eastwood called: “A legend in their own minds.” But the wise ones know that celebrity can be a useful tool that can bless people, bring answers, bring hope and at the very least bring out a smile.

Sadly many current celebrities have used it mainly for commercial reasons or promotional purposes. It’s all part of the “Abebi” culture directed to increase their popularity, ratings, and fame. But wouldn’t it be great if “Celebrity Status” was used by all celebrities past and present, to make a difference in the lives of people far removed from their adoring or supportive crowd?  I came to this realization upon my return from Tokyo and the first “problem” for the week involved matters concerning Charlotte the 13-year-old girl who landed in the hospital paralyzed after undergoing vaccination at a public school in Quezon City. (Column title: Adverse Reaction)

How much can you do for a 13-year-old bed-ridden child who’s tube fed, dependent on oxygen and a ventilator, but whose eyes are full of life, refusing to be beaten down by some unexpected and unfamiliar ailment triggered by “a series of unfortunate events.”

This has been my reality check lately as I assist a young couple whose daughter is now hospitalized. My default reaction is to give financial assistance, daily prayers, and recently an Ipod and box full of DVDs and CDs to keep the young girl’s imagination alive and growing. If her body can’t take her places at least let her mind wander into “a beautiful world.” But it is never enough! It sucks that I can’t even send chocolates or toys because she can barely keep her arms up or eat such treats!

So to fight off my frustration I start washing a pair of walking shoes and allow my mind to wander off to find other ways and means that I could do to cheer her up or make her day or make her jump out of bed in joy. Then I wonder about all the other children and teenagers in hospital rooms and wards especially those who are poorer and sadly, sicker, like with cancer. It would be around this time of the year (back when I was still in TV hosting Straight Talk on ANC and Kamusta Kabayan on TFC) when we would make arrangements to visit a hospital or two or an orphanage perhaps to spread some pre-Christmas cheer.

It was all part of the “season” as Christmas approached and part of being in a network where the yuletide season seemed to transform as from hard-nosed cynics or goblins to muffin hearted human beings who just wanted to give back. That’s when I thought to myself:

Wouldn’t it be great if “Celebrities” and “Public Figures” or “Personalities” ALL went out of their way just to visit, to say hello, to hold hands, maybe even pray for these helpless and hapless children, even grown ups in hospitals who could use the cheering up and the inspiration.

Imagine what a surprise it would be if “AlDub”, Daniel Padilla, Piolo Pascual, “Sir Chief” etc., Gilas Pilipinas, the entire teams of the PBA, The Volley belles, the UAAP/NCAA, The Stars of OPM like Basil Valdez, Gary V. APO Hiking Society, Mitch Valdez John Lesaca, Glock 9, Side A, Lea Salonga, etc. simply popped up unannounced at various hospitals because they cared?

I wish and pray that Gabby Lopez, Charo Santos of ABS CBN, Attorney Felipe Gozon of GMA-7 and Mr. Manny Pangilinan and Noel Lorenzana could all invite, if need be; instruct all their TV talents and performing artists to go out and cheer up the kids and patients who can’t go to their studios, attend their mall tours or be at concerts and performances.

Celebrity status is a thing that sticks with your audience and your admirers. You may not be the hottest actor or actress at the moment, you may not be in the PBA, but Atoy Co is Atoy Co. Jawo is Jawo and if you haven’t had a road tour or mall concert in years, the children don’t care. Play your violin, sing your song, be a clown or just be a person who shows you care and love them. Who cares if you are not in the latest teleserye, movie or concert! Why waste your celebrity status when you could use it to make another human beings day? If the kids don’t know you, the parents would. Some people are so happy just to have someone to talk with or someone who would listen to them, how much more if it were a celebrity, how much more if that “celebrity” was you? 

If you agree with these thoughts I sincerely request that you share the idea with others whether by mouth or social media. Lets try to convince or influence the celebrities, the stars, the networks and our selves to all give back, to be part of the Ultimate Cheering Squad; a team that’s not doing it for the gold but for the kids. Who are not competing but inspiring not just the patients but also their loved ones. And if you happen to be part of the silent minority who quietly go about visiting the sick kids and cheering them up: GOOD FOR YOU! But Please, talk about it. Be the example and the person that would-be volunteers can consult with. Sometimes, people simply need to know someone whose climbed the mountain so to speak. God bless the cheering squads of life!

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