Middletown Township Supervisor Anna Payne received a shock recently when an A-list celebrity had a message for her.
“Anna Payne, of Middletown, Pennsylvania. Middletown, stand up! You’ve got Anna Payne representing with the strength and she is coming through,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said in a video to the elected official posted to his popular Instagram page at the end of last month.
The Rock’s message was a boost in support for Payne, who found out not long ago she is fighting stage four colon cancer.
The celebrity and his fans shared messages of support to Payne. The Rock also sent some swag to the Middletown Township resident, who already had a cardboard cutout of the wrestler-turned-actor sitting in her home.
When asked about her reaction when she found out The Rock was sending her good wishes, Payne said she was caught completely off guard.
“I’m still shocked,” she said.
Payne said she found out about The Rock’s impending message when his team reached out to clear posting the video about her.
Payne, who has cystic fibrosis and has advocated for those with the disorder, is a big fan of The Rock. She spent a lot of time in hospitals growing up and became enthralled with the wrestling that was on TV.
“I would watch it and The Rock, and I would then be in a completely different mood. He was like my hype man,” she said.
Isaac Avilucea, Payne’s friend and a reporter for The Trentonian, reached out to The Rock’s production company in his attempt to get a message from the star.
“After Anna told me about her diagnosis, I decided to try to reach DJ (Dwayne Johnson) by email through his production company, Seven Bucks. Probably one of the most important things I’ve ever written. But still figured he got a bunch of those types of requests, so didn’t think there was much of a shot the letter would find its way to DJ, in the crush of fan mail,” Avilucea recalled.
Avilucea happened to be with Payne, who he met in May and became fast friends with, when word came through about the video message.
“Anna and I were about to play rummy when the email came through. She was overcome with emotion. I was heartened at the act,” he said.
“I’m pretty jaded on politicians and celebrities, but Anna and The Rock restored my faith in some of them,” the reporter from New Jersey’s capital city said.
A two-time testicular cancer survivor himself, Avilucea said he informed Payne “she needed to find her rock during this battle, a close confidant who’d support and be her sounding board whenever she has peaks and valleys during this process of healing and rebirth. Turns out she got the damn Rock himself. It is honestly cool.”
“I’m eternally thankful. That video and moment will go down as one of the best days of my life,” Payne said.
The Rock’s Instagram post wishing Payne well has received more than 3 million views.
Payne, 34, knows her battle will be tough, but she is confident she’ll conquer this one, like the other health battles she has faced over her life.
Payne explained that the cancerous mass grew over time and she began to notice it, but it took several trips to medical professionals to get a solid diagnosis.
“I just kept listening to my body,” she said.
After spending time trying to figure out what was wrong, Payne moved toward getting treatment.
“There was some peace knowing what was wrong,” she said.
While colon cancer is rare among younger people, cystic fibrosis patients do have a higher occurrence of it.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation stated that patients with the illness have a five to 15 times greater chance of getting colon cancer.
Payne has begun a treatment of immunotherapy, which only a small percentage of colon cancer patients qualify for during their journey.
Payne said she’s continuing to volunteer, work, and serve the township.
“This is just something else I have to take care of,” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises Americans at 45 years old to get screened at regular intervals for colon cancer, which can be a decision that allows for early treatment. For more information on screenings, contact your doctor.
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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Sends Message To Township Supervisor Battling Cancer – nonenglishfeed