The Backstreet Boys made a surprise visit Tuesday to a pediatric cancer patient at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
Jordan Ilae was celebrating the end of chemotherapy after more than two years of treatment for leukemia when band members Nick Carter and Brian Littrell stopped by before their third concert at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena. The popular 90s boy band performed three concerts so far with the final show Wednesday for their DNA World Tour. The group — comprised of Carter, Littrell, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson — is one of the best-selling boy bands with more than 130 million records sold worldwide.
“Everybody deserves a chance to hope in something, believe in something. (You are) going through a tough hospital stay, or chemotherapy, or things that your system is just stripped, you’re drained, you have nothing left,” said Littrell in an interview provided by the hospital. “That sense of hope is what music can bring to people. We’re able to give back and lift some spirits. It blesses us more than it does anybody else.”
Carter said that the entertainers “get so much out of this.”
“We have families. we all have children,” he said. “We realize that we’ve been doing this for 25, 26 years and it’s just an opportunity for us to just really give back and that’s why we’re here.”
The singers took part in a special presentation for pediatric cancer patients that included singing, gifts and ringing of a bell by the patients who completed treatment. Carter and Littrell brought gifts from their world tour including an autographed T-shirt, poster and concert tickets. iHeart Radio, a partner of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, donated additional tickets for Jordan’s entire family including her mother, Kahea.
“In order for her to be discharged she had to clear her chemo, but when you’re pumped full of chemo you just feel really, really yucky,” Kahea said. “So in order to get her to get out of bed to go on those walks we had to promise her, ‘Here you can listen to Backstreet Boys.’ It was really the only music she listened to throughout her treatment. It was really cute because she’d be walking around the hallway singing along to the songs and the nurses would be going, ‘Is that Backstreet Boys?’”
The band members also visited patient rooms, took photos and even sang their hit song, “I Want it That Way,” with staff and a young cancer patient.
Dayle Tamayose, whose 13-year-old daughter Ally got to meet the Backstreet Boys, said the experience was uplifting for her daughter who was diagnosed with bone cancer in January 2018.
“It was very exciting for them. That was the first time she’s met a celebrity. It definitely lifted her spirits, she was excited, just something to look forward to that’s positive,” she said. “Having these experiences for her, it does provide her hope and just excitement and fun and just living life. Her motto is just cherishing life and living life. It was a nice surprise.”