when he became actively involved in communicating with these kids. He corresponds withyoungsters his own age in hospital all over the country. These are not letters dictated to asecretary by a superstar, but letters written in Michael’s own hand during breaks in recording orrehearsing or even in school.”
On December 24, 1972,
the Jackson 5 perform Christmas songs during a benefit concert atthe "Foundation for the Junior Blind" in Los Angeles, California, for 1000 visually impairedchildren, 400 of which attending the benefit party. On his thoughts about the event, MichaelJackson declares:
"You know, really, this is what Christmasis all about - giving."
On March 7, 1973,
young Michael Jackson visits the bedside of 6-year old Leslie Robinette -suffering from from aplastic anemia caused by the genetic disease fanconi anemia – at theSeattle Children’s Hospital - then The Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center.Robinette received a bone marrow transplant, and was one of the youngest to ever have theprocedure. She went through chemotherapy, radiation, an ever-changing plethora ofmedications and was kept in isolation for three months; her state of health was precarious, thedoctors saying, after she was dismissed from the hospital, that she might live 10 years. “
I was sitting in my room looking out the window, ironically listening to 'Looking Through the Window' by the Jackson 5, when I heard all the nurses going wild and carrying on”,
Robinette declares 26 years later. Coincidentally, the Jackson 5 were there.
“They asked me which one I wanted to see, and I said I wanted to see Michael - he was the cute one”,
she says, laughing. She describes teenage Jackson as shy, but kind and sincere, signing anautographer for her, holding her hand and asking about her state.“I would never say that he saved her life - that's crazy - but he gave her back a little of her will tolive because she had lost it”,Trine Robinette, Leslie’s sister adds. Leslie eventually did improve, and her family returned totheir farm in Greeneville, Tenn., where she still lives with her parents. 11 years later, Leslie metJackson again, while he was on tour in Knoxville with his brothers, where she received freetickets, then went backstage to meet the Jackson clan.
"I asked him if he remembered me, and he said yes. We talked about my singing in chorus and how I was getting my back brace off soon”,
Robinette says. Jackson then told his security detail that she was his guest, so she got to watchthe third show from a raised VIP platform, seated right next to Jackson's mother, Katherine. Stillstruggling with her disease, she is less than 4 feet tall and weighs about 60 pounds, but she isnow 42 and is involved in North American Riding for the Handicapped Association and currentlyis training to become an instructor.
"I've always felt that Michael and I were kind of kindred spirits, because we both grew up not being able to really go anywhere or do anything normal kids do”,
Robinette says, adding that she hopes people will remember Michael Jackson for his gooddeeds and music.
On August 16, 1973
, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 perform in a benefit gig at St. PaulCivic Center Arena in Minnesota, with proceeds of the concert being funneled to the
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