Special to Find It In Fondren® (Ronald McDonald House)
A young actor whose home is a short 15 miles from Ronald McDonald House is helping the charity through a movie he filmed in Germany and South Africa.
Aiden Flowers, a seventh-grader at Brandon Middle School and, at 13, an accomplished actor on stage and screen, stars in “Robin,” a film that’s the centerpiece of a social impact campaign called Watch for Wishes.
For every viewing of the film, 10 cents will be donated to nonprofits including Ronald McDonald House Charities of Germany as well as the German National Bone Marrow Registry ZKRD and SOS Children’s Villages International, headquartered in Austria.
The film can also be seen on YouTube.
Flowers, who has had roles in films including “The Big Short” and on The CW’s series “The Originals,” said when he was approached about the title role in the film, he was immediately interested. “We’ve had family and friends who have had loved ones who were battling cancer, and it was hard for them to see the people they love go through that. I knew I wanted to help others through this film.”
“Robin” tells the story of a terminally ill child and his father, who takes him on a journey to check off wishes, from seeing real lions to flying, from his bucket list. Directed by brothers Toby and Kevin Schmutzler, the film takes the father and son from Ingolstadt, Germany, to Cape Town, South Africa.
Acknowledging the film has its sad moments, Flowers said it also celebrates the joy of life. “It is sad, but I think people will also see the message of hope that comes from it.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mississippi improves the well-being of children and families through programs that give comfort, compassion and care. The cornerstone of the nonprofit’s work is serving as a home away from home for families with seriously ill children who travel to Jackson for specialized care.
Research shows that having family nearby helps children in healing. A 2013 study published by the American Psychological Association found that staying at a Ronald McDonald House during a child’s hospitalization “contributed meaningfully to the priority of providing family-centered care.”
Ruth Ann Allen, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mississippi, has seen the impact of the Jackson location on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“Providing a home for families during perhaps the most difficult days of their lives allows them to be where they need to be – besides their children,” Allen said. “Children who are battling cancer and other illnesses, or recovering from injuries, want their parents close by. Since Batson Children’s Hospital and UMMC serve the region, this is vital for families who live sometimes hundreds of miles away. We are so grateful that the makers of ‘Robin’ are helping our cause.”
Caroline Muhl, director of production of the film, said the making of “Robin” covered a four-year span. “We explored releasing the film the traditional way, in theaters and then on DVD and on TV, but we realized what we really wanted was to tell this story. When we came up with the idea of an online release, we saw it was a way of sharing ‘Robin’ but also making a real-life impact.”