Friday Frontline: Children’s Hospital L.A. Unveils Mural of Chadwick Boseman, Astronaut Michael Collins Dies from Cancer, And More

April 30, 2021
Jamie Cesanek

From a mural of Chadwick Boseman in a Los Angeles children’s hospital to the death of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.

Children’s Hospital L.A. unveiled a mural of late actor Chadwick Boseman.

Nearly a year since “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer, the Children’s Hospital L.A. added a mural in his honor to its facility. The image shows Boseman and a young cancer patient wearing a “Black Panther” mask saluting each other.

The image was unveiled Wednesday, where one of the hospital’s patients with cancer, Daniel, joined the mural’s artist, Nikkolas Smith.

"I was particularly touched to unveil it and show it to Daniel who is a superhero battling cancer, just like a Chadwick, and he is a big Black Panther fan,” said Smith via Instagram. "I hope that children like Daniel will be reminded of their inner superpower every time they see it. Long Live the King!"

Michael Collins, an astronaut who flew on Apollo 11, died from cancer.

Michael Collins, who was part of the three-member crew of Apollo 11 that completed the first moon landing mission in 1969, died from cancer this week at age 90.

His family released a statement that Collins died peacefully, surrounded by family. “Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge in the same way,” they added.

The three-member crew of Apollo 11 included Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who often receive more mainstream recognition than Collins because they were the first to physically walk on the moon. However, while Armstrong and Aldrin stepped foot on the lunar surface, Collins was doing the important job of piloting the command module, circling above them.

“In many ways he was the keystone of the mission,” said Francis French, a space historian. “He was the one who really knew how to fly the spacecraft solo (the only person who flew a spacecraft solo in the entire mission) and the only one who could get all three of them home."

Many paid tribute to Collins’ astronaut legacy after the news of his death. In a statement released by NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk, he said that the nation lost a true pioneer.

"NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential. Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America's first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons."

A 5-year-old patient with cancer used his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help other kids in the hospital.

Grayson Nunley, from St. Louis County, Missouri, spent 20 days in the hospital in treatment for leukemia. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation reached out to grant him a wish, Nunley just wanted to help other kids. He decided to use his wish to give kids in the hospital comfortable bed sheets to help ease the difficulty of treatment.

“I think they’ll be excited,” Nunley told KTVI.

As of now, Nunley is in remission and has several weeks of regular treatment left. His family and doctors hope he will be able to ring the “chemo bell” a year from this November.

“He understands that this is a wish that could be for him to ask for something. I think he also knows how important and how special it is to give back,” said his mother, Ann Nunley. “We have asked him a million times and he’s always maintained that this is what he wanted to do and that he’s proud of it and he’s happy.”

Past “American Idol” contestant announced she is preparing for brain surgery.

Avalon Young, who competed on “American Idol” in 2016, shared the news that she is preparing to have a second surgery to treat brain cancer. In February, Young posted on Instagram about a tumor found in her brain. The tumor was removed, but now requires a second surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy to treat her cancer.

Young, 26, has “minimal insurance, is an independent artist and self-supporting singer/songwriter” according to a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $100,000 set up by her family. Young and her family hope to raise money to help pay for her medical expenses.

In an interview with Fox 5 San Diego, Young expressed a positive outlook about her treatment.

“How could something like this not make your life better?” she said. “You come out of it; it happened; it’s not the greatest experience. But when you come out of it, I mean, I’m lucky I get to go through this; I get to survive; I get to live and that’s really, really awesome for me.”

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