Cirque du Soleil star to perform at Webster Elementary

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Cirque du Soleil juggler Patrick McGuire will perform at Webster Elementary School Friday for the classmates of a student undergoing chemotherapy.

The children at Webster Elementary School in Malibu will get to help a sick classmate and receive a special treat on Friday when Patrick McGuire, a Cirque du Soleil juggling star, will perform for them as part of the show put on by Circus Remedy.

The show is performed around the country for children who need “wonder, joy and laughter brought into their lives,” said Anthony Lucero, who co-founded Circus Remedy while recovering from a serious illness of his own.

The Circus Remedy program “unites school kids with kids in the hospital” by helping the school children reach out to sick children who are typically feeling very isolated.

“Everyone else’s life goes on,” said Lucero, “but these kids are sort of in exile.”

A Webster first grader is currently undergoing chemotherapy and “it has had quite an emotional impact” on his young classmates, said Jennifer Polk, a Webster parent and organizer of the Circus Remedy event. “This was the perfect opportunity for the children to do something tangible for their friend.”

Webster students will be able to write a personal wish of support and will be tracing their handprints as part of the Little Hands project to be shared with their classmate.

When Circus Remedy was formed, Lucero said that the original intent was to perform for hospitalized children. Since then, they have by request branched out to perform for other groups that support troubled children, such as support groups for victims of sexual abuse and even a children’s prison in Tanzania (where children were imprisoned for offenses like stealing food when they were starving).

“It’s amazing,” said Lucero, of the impact the program has had upon the children and how far the program has come since it started performing one and a half years ago. “The courage the kids share and the magic they give back to us is more incredible than anything else I’ve encountered.”

Following the Webster performance, McGuire will also perform for the sick student at his home, where he is currently preparing for a stem cell transplant.

The Webster Elementary Program is open to the public and will be performed at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Visitors should check in at the main office. More information on the Webster event can be obtained by contacting Jennifer Polk at 310.456.0216. More information regarding Circus Remedy can be obtained online at www.circusremedy.org.