Carter Nelson, one of three sons of Andrew and Nikki Nelson, was the guest-of-honor at the recent annual Mr. Pine View fundraising event. Selected as the recipient for this year because of his medical needs, Carter – who has cerebral palsy – literally became the face of the fundraiser created by Pine View High School’s HOSA Club (“Health Occupation Students of America”).
The event is simple: clubs on campus select a candidate who fundraises before representing them in a pageant competition for the title of Mr. PV.
To be selected, the recipient must meet two criteria: the child or family must have significant medical and/or financial need; and, there must be a clear connection to Pine View High School. Carter met both criteria because his mother is a PVHS alum and her brother-in-law is on the school’s faculty.
Students at Bloomington Elementary were so excited to have “one of their own” selected as the recipient they created their own fundraiser so they could add to the big amount.
States Mom Nikki, “It was a very surreal moment for us. Carter received a standing ovation and lots of applause. Of course, he loved it and blew lots and lots of kisses.”
During the week until fundraising ended on February 19, the Nelson family – and Carter – participated in several other activities, including a 5K and mile fun run hosted by the HOSA Club. At every activity, Carter met and made lots of new friends, got fist bumps, high fives, kisses, hugs and smiles. He literally was the star of every show and loved it.
On Friday, February 21, following a dance for PVHS students, 8 finalists were announced based on the amount of money each had raised. In true pageant style, finalists were required to present a talent and “strut their stuff” in active wear representative of their team or club. Then they showed a video chronicling the progress Carter has made since birth, which brought the house to tears.
Nikki arranged to have escorts for each of the finalists. Familiar to the members of B7 Ward, Jaselle Mills (niece of Randy and Shar Simkins), Addison Nelson (daughter of Emma Nelson, granddaughter of Claude and Kathryn Warner and great-granddaughter of Lloyd and Luana Warner), Ivie Forsyth (daughter of Steve and Tina Forsyth), Gracie and Nellie Green (daughters of Jacob and Annie Green) and friends from school McKinlie Hoggan, Nancy Nelson, and Elleana Theodore were twirled and given a rose as they escorted their guy onto the stage where each finalist was asked two questions.
While the votes were tallied, the entire Nelson family was invited to the stage where Carter blew more kisses and more questions were answered. In addition, Nikki was given a beautiful bouquet of flowers and Carter received a minion toy (now his favorite play thing). The final “moment” for the Nelson family came when they were presented with a “giant publishers clearing house” check for the amount raised by the students.
States Nikki, “The amount blew me away. We were shocked and humbled all at once. To think these kids had created the fundraising event and willingly given so selflessly for a kid many of them never even got to meet was more gratitude than our hearts could handle.”
The final act of the evening was the crowning of Mr. PV, then the Nelson’s were able to meet many of the students involved and take “lots and lots of pictures while we tried really hard to soak in the feeling of the moment. I’m so thankful for the opportunity we had to participate in this amazing event. Yes, the money will be very helpful but it’s more than that. It’s the togetherness it brought to the community. It’s the lessons the kids at Pine View learned about selfless giving, about Cerebral Palsy and what it’s like for a kiddo like Carter. It’s the friendships created which might never have happened otherwise. It’s about humility for us as a family to be willing to accept a gift we can never repay. The list goes on. I can’t wait until next year when we get to help someone else have this amazing experience and feeling. It will be a moment when we can pay it forward, even a tiny bit!”