The Twilight Saga: Eclipse star Peter Facinelli may be in the middle of one of the biggest film premieres in history, but he’s taking it all in stride.
Dr. Carlisle Cullen, the head of the Forks, Washington, vampires, is instead focusing on the family -- but not only the blood-sucking clan. Facinelli is one of the ambassadors for Glad's campaign to help Cookies for Kids' Cancer and has personal and passionate reasons for getting involved in the non-profit that raises money to fight pediatric cancer -- the number one killer by disease of children under 18 years old.
I talked to Peter about Cookies for Kids' Cancer, and how his real-life family feels about having a Cullen in their midst.
You have a teenage daughter; is she a Twi-hard? Or just like, ehhh, that’s my dad.
She’s more like ehhh, that's my dad. I ruined it for her in that way. She can’t be a full-on die-hard Twi-hard, because it’s like, “My dad is in the movie and that would be weird.” She loves the movies, but it’s not like she can wear Twilight merchandise. Her friends would be like, "That’s kind of weird."
But she could declare Team Edward or Team Jacob.
She has mentioned Team Edward before. But she wears Carlisle t-shirts. She’s a Carlisle supporter.
Is your wife (actress Jennie Garth) a big fan as well or does she keep her distance?
She’s excited for the movie; she’s read all the books. She really enjoyed the movie.
You have a family of supporters, but not fanatics.
Would you let your daughters camp out for the Eclipse premiere?
I don’t know what the environment was like down there. I went down to visit it, and it seemed very safe. Everyone seemed very happy. It was like a mini-Woodstock. Before I did, I would definitely check out the safety factor.
I mean more of a safety factor because it was the middle of downtown. They didn’t seem to have any problems. Everybody seemed really happy and excited to be a part of it. But for my kids to camp out and do something like that, I would have to have a lot of information. But I love camping out. I have an RV. I might just forgo the tent and pull up the RV.
When you were a kid, did you ever have an obsession like this?
Not to this degree. The only thing I can remember is when Rocky 3 came out and standing in a line that was all the way around the corner. I thought a two-hour wait online was a big deal. Usually movies didn’t have a line around the block. So when a line formed around the corner, you knew it was a good movie. I can’t even relate it to camping out for five days for Eclipse.
What inspired you to get involved in Glad’s campaign and Cookies for Cancer?
I do a lot of work with pediatric cancer foundations and so it’s very important to me. I was very moved by the story of how Cookies for Kids' Cancer was started. It was founded by parents who were inspired by their young son’s fight against cancer. Glad came to me and asked me if I would help spread awareness for this campaign that they’re doing, which I think is a pretty fantastic campaign.
In the summer months you can buy Glad products and enter a code online and Glad will donate a dollar to Cookies for Kids' Cancer up to $100,000. People can go to Glad to Give to learn more, and learn how to host a bake sale of their own in honor of Cookies for Kids' Cancer.
In November we’re going to have a bake-off with three celebrities; me, Joan Cusack, and Jayma Mays, and we’re going to compete to see who can raise the most money with their bake sale.
Jayma was talking some smack about how she has you both beat.
I don’t know what the ingredients are for her cookies, but she hasn’t tasted mine yet. My wife is a master baker, so I’m going to be ripping off some recipes from her.
As a father, is the Glad campaign personal?
I have three young kids. I went to Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital and visited the pediatric cancer wing there and it just seemed unfair that there are children in these hospitals when they should be out playing and running around.
So I started to get involved in pediatric cancer non-profits and organizations. Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 18, but only half of the drugs used to treat children with cancer are viable. They are at least 20 years old. So the research is there, but the money isn’t. I feel like if I could help bring attention to that, so people can come together and raise the money, there’s a good chance that we could stamp out cancer. And those kids in the hospital could be out playing instead of being trapped inside.
I just thank God every day that my children are healthy. I had a scare with my middle daughter. She was sick for a little while and they were throwing out all of this stuff. At one point they thought she had leukemia and she might have cancer. She ended up having something called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In her case it went into remission.
So you can relate to these parents.
I remember when they were talking about leukemia and cancer, I couldn’t breathe. I can’t even imagine what parents who have children who have cancer have to go through. To remain positive and keep that positive energy going for their kids ...
I feel like there’s a lot that can be done to help them, but it takes a village. People want to help, they just don’t know how. It can be as simple as doing a bake sale or making cookies. Last year Glad inspired more than 600 bake sales and raised $340,000 during the holidays alone. So this year Glad is committed to raising the bar.
With the success of Twilight, you’re in a position where you can really bring a lot of attention to this issue.
If I have that outlet where I can reach a lot of people, I want to be able to spread awareness about something. Like I said, people want to help sometimes; they just don’t know where to go or how to. It’s a great program where you can go home and it takes seconds to enter in the online code and then people are benefiting from that.
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