After Blake passed away, Laux decided to follow-through on a special project the two had planned to work on together as a way to honor her friend and all children fighting cancer.
The finished product was the video, “The Wavin’ Flag Lip-Dub,” featuring the song, “Wavin’ Flag,” by musician K’naan.
The video documents a 2013 family retreat for patients coping with cancer, blood disorders, and bone marrow transplants.
It shows patients, their families and volunteers having fun during all kinds of activities and singing and dancing along to the song, which is about being courageous.
Laux one of those volunteers who went on that retreat. She works with the program, CPALS (Carolina Pediatric Attention, Love, and Support), a student organization that pairs about 91 Carolina students with children at UNC Hospitals who are undergoing treatment for cancer or serious blood disorders.
Through CPALS, Laux was matched with Blake in January of 2013. He was undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer.
“He was in the hospital sometimes for 20 to 40 days at a time. I was trying to think of fun things he could do, and he loved music! I thought that together, maybe we could work on a project. I was thinking about these [lip dub] videos, and I thought this could be something we could do together,” Laux said.
A few years ago, Laux saw a video that Seattle Children’s Hospital had produced. She said it sparked the idea to create a similar video, but with a stamp of Tar Heel style.
Because Blake loved to sing, especially in duets with Laux, she said she knew it would be something he would enjoy.
“I told him that this is something that we could do together and it would be so fun. Unfortunately, he passed away in September. Shortly after his passing, I knew I wanted to stay involved in CPALS, and I was trying to think of something I could do that would make a difference. I went back to [the idea of] this video and knew that was something I wanted to do,” she said.
Pooling together the resources of Laux’s fellow CPAL peers, the group planned to document the family retreat. She said it was not just about taking part in a fun project. The greater message of the video was to capture the strength of the children and their families.
Laux said it was also a chance to remember Blake.
“The video is a way to honor him and his love of music and then to honor all of these children and their families. The big theme of this video is: ‘Together, we are brave.’ That is really the mantra at UNC Hospitals. When one person in a family is fighting cancer, really everybody is fighting cancer.”
Laux said she still keeps in touch with Blake’s family.
“I sent the video over to his mom, and I wanted her to be able to see it and kind of show her what I had done for him. She really enjoyed it, which I really loved,” Laux said.
Jessica Irven is the Pediatric Psychosocial Support Coordinator for the N.C. Children’s Hospital and also the Coordinator for CPALS.
Irven, who still gets chill bumps while watching the video, said it was a “show piece” for the family retreat and the larger support program offered to pediatric cancer patients and their families.
“It was a really great chance to go back and forth between getting our support needs out and having chat times and just letting loose,” Irven said. “We were just dancing and celebrating to the words of that fantastic song about being brave.”
**Listen to the Radio Version of this Story**