HUNTINGTON BEACH –
Colby Curtin, a 10-year-old with a rare form of cancer, was staying alive for one thing – a movie.From the minute Colby saw the
previews to the Disney-Pixar movie Up,
she was desperate to see it. Colby had been diagnosed with vascular
cancer about three years ago, said her mother, Lisa Curtin, and at the
beginning of this month it became apparent that she would die soon and
was too ill to be moved to a theater to see the film.After a family friend made frantic calls to Pixar to help grant Colby her dying wish, Pixar came to the rescue.The
company flew an employee with a DVD of Up, which is only in theaters,
to the Curtins’ Huntington Beach home on June 10 for a private viewing
of the movie.The animated movie begins with scenes showing the
evolution of a relationship between a husband and wife. After losing
his wife in old age, the now grumpy man deals with his loss by
attaching thousands of balloons to his house, flying into the sky, and
going on an adventure with a little boy.Colby died about seven hours after seeing the film.With
her daughter’s vigil planned for Friday, Lisa Curtin reflected about
how grateful she is that Pixar – and "Up" – were a part of her only
child’s last day.“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.”Pixar officials declined to comment on the story or name the employees involved.THE PREVIEWSColby
was diagnosed with vascular cancer on Dec. 23, 2005 after doctors found
a tumor in her liver. At the time of her death, her stomach was about
94 inches around, swollen with fluids the cancer wouldn’t let her body
properly digest. The rest of her body probably weighed about 45 pounds,
family friend Carole Lynch said.Colby had gone to Newport
Elementary School and was known for making others laugh, family friend
Terrell Orum-Moore said. Colby loved to dance, sing, swim and seemed to
have a more mature understanding of the world than other children her
age, Orum-Moore said.On April 28, Colby went to see the Dream Works 3-D movie "Monsters Vs. Aliens" but was impressed by the previews to "Up."“It was from then on, she said, ‘I have to see that movie. It is so cool,’” Lynch said.Colby was a movie fan, Lisa Curtin said, and she latched onto Pixar’s movies because she loved animals.Two
days later Colby’s health began to worsen. On June 4 her mother asked a
hospice company to bring a wheelchair for Colby so she could visit a
theater to see "Up." However, the weekend went by and the wheelchair
was not delivered, Lisa Curtin said.By June 9, Colby could no longer be transported to a theater and her family feared she would die without having seen the movie.At that point, Orum-Moore, who desperately wanted Colby to get her last wish, began to cold-call
Disney to see if someone could help.Pixar
has an automated telephone answering system, Orum-Moore said, and
unless she had a name of a specific person she wanted to speak to, she
could not get through. Orum-Moore guessed a name and the computer
system transferred her to someone who could help, she said.Pixar
officials listened to Colby’s story and agreed to send someone to
Colby’s house the next day with a DVD of "Up," Orum-Moore recalled.She immediately called Lisa Curtin, who told Colby.“Do you think you can hang on?” Colby’s mother said.“
I’m ready (to die), but I’m going to wait for the movie,” the girl replied.THE MOVIEAt about 12:30 p.m. the Pixar employee came to the Curtins’ home with the DVD.He
had a bag of stuffed animals of characters in the movie and a movie
poster. He shared some quirky background details of the movie and the
group settled in to watch Up.Colby couldn't see the screen because the pain kept her eyes closed so her mother gave her a play-by-play of the film.At the end of the film, the mother asked if her daughter enjoyed the movie and Colby nodded yes, Lisa Curtin said.The employee left after the movie, taking the DVD with him, Lynch said.“He couldn’t have been nicer,” said Lynch who watched the movie with the family.
“His eyes were just welled up.”After the movie, Colby’s dad, Michael Curtin, who is divorced from Lisa Curtin, came to visit.Colby died with her mom and dad nearby at 9:20 p.m.Among
the Up memorabilia the employee gave Colby was an “adventure book” – a
scrap book the main character’s wife used to chronicle her journeys.“I’ll have to fill those adventures in for her,” Lisa Curtin said.Hope she is in a
good placeUp in the clouds ....
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