The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, April 07, 2014, Page Page 11, Image 11

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April 7, 2014
Make-A-Wish Foundation grants custom
cosplay wardrobe to local Hmong teen
By Pamela Ellgen
The Asian Reporter
he Make-A-Wish Foundation is in
the business of granting wishes of
fairytale proportions. So, when
teenager Leslie Cha asked for a wardrobe
straight out of the comic books, it just
made sense to the organization to wave
their wand and make magic happen.
Cha, who is battling lymphoma, a type of
blood cancer, developed an interest in
cosplay a few years ago. The performance
art involves dressing up like characters
from comic books, video games, manga,
anime, and other virtual worlds, and
costumes can range from $100 to well over
$1,000 for more elaborate designs.
“She’s a big fan of anime and comicon
conventions,” said Tracey Lam of the
Oregon chapter of Make-A-Wish, “but
apparently had never really been able to
participate because she didn’t have a
wardrobe of her own.”
Make-A-Wish Oregon recruited the help
of local cosplay fashion designer Angeline
Abuyen to make Cha’s dress-up dreams
come true. Abuyen created five unique
costumes according to Leslie’s favorite
characters, each featuring true-to-story
design complete with hair pieces and
accessories. Abuyen tailored each costume
to fit Cha’s petite frame, but in the interest
of keeping it a surprise, did not invite her
to try them on before the big reveal.
“Cosplay provides an escape, an oppor-
tunity to pretend to be someone else and
not think about what’s going on in real life
and be with people who are doing the same
thing,” Abuyen said. “Looking at the
characters Leslie chose, all of them had
WISH GRANTED. The Make-A-Wish Foundation took to the catwalk to make the wish of teenager Leslie
Cha come true. Cha, who is battling lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, developed an interest in cosplay a few
years ago. As part of the special event, Cha (right photo) received five unique costumes made by cosplay fashion
designer Angeline Abuyen. (AR Photos/Pamela Ellgen)
some hard times but are in general
The costumes were unveiled at a lavish
party and fashion show held at the Benson
Hotel on Sunday, March 9, also Cha’s 14th
birthday. Cha arrived in costume and was
met by a swarm of photographers and an
eruption of cheers as she walked the red
carpet into the ballroom. Surrounded by
family, friends, and a colorful crowd of
fellow cosplayers, she saw the costumes for
the first time during a runway show.
“It’s pretty exciting, it doesn’t show on
my face, but on the inside, I’m really hyper
and happy,” Cha said. “Make-A-Wish gives
the opportunity to have something that’s
kind of once in a lifetime.”
Make-A-Wish also recruited the help of
Ann Akre, executive producer of the
Portland Fashion and Style Awards Show
and owner of Venus Allure Salon and Spa.
“Ann played a major role in getting the
fashion show put together by mobilizing
her friends in the fashion show industry,”
Lam said. “I’m so happy that the
community — the comicon community, the
cosplay community, the fashion show
community — came together and helped
us do this and helped make Leslie’s wish
come true.”
Wendy Thompson worked with Cha and
her parents, father Gary Cha and mother
Payang Xaychouyang, over the past eight
months to make her dream become a
reality. As a wish granter, Thompson
never knows what is going to be wished for,
and sometimes those dreams take her
places she never expected.
“This journey with Leslie introduced me
to the world of anime, and I witnessed a
very shy child gain confidence within the
magical world of cosplay,” Thompson said.
“This was a very powerful wish to be a part
Make-A-Wish Oregon grants wishes for
children with life-threatening medical
conditions and has granted more than
2,900 wishes since it joined the foundation
in 1983. It operates through generous
donations and the help of 250 volunteers.
To volunteer, donate, or host a fundraiser,
call (503) 292-2280 or visit <www.oregon.>.
15-year-old female Amur tiger Nicole passes away
EVANS SCHOLARSHIPS. Madison High School seniors Olivia
Andersen (left) and Meuy Saechao (right) as well as Franklin High School
senior Quy Hoang (center) have been named as winners of the 2014 Ev-
ans Scholarships. The awards were given through the Early Adventures in
Golf for a Lifetime of Enjoyment (EAGLE) program and the Western Golf
Association Evans Scholarship Foundation (WGAESF). Each student re-
ceives a four-year scholarship with tuition and housing to the University
of Oregon valued in excess of $50,000. The three students served as
caddies for 80 separate 18-hole rounds during the 2012 and 2013 sum-
mer golf seasons through Portland Parks & Recreation’s EAGLE program.
(Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation)
John Love, Bataan
Death March
survivor, dies at 91
Japan lets first
evacuees live in
nuke no-go zone
Continued from page 7
Continued from page 3
burial detail at a pris-
oner-of-war camp in the
weeks following the Death
When Love learned of the
caption revision in March
2010, he became emotional
with a reporter.
“Son of a gun. Isn’t that
great?” Love said. “It
brings tears to my eyes. It
really does.”
within a year for residents
from areas where the gov-
ernment decides it is safe
enough to go back and live.
The radioactive plume
from the Fukushima plant
did not spread evenly, so
some areas outside the
12-mile radius are unsafe.
Decontamination on an
unprecedented scale is
ongoing in Fukushima, but
some places may not be
safe to live for decades.
Nicole, the 15-year-old female Amur tiger at the Oregon
Zoo, passed away last month after experiencing what was
believed to be a seizure. Animal care staff responded
immediately, but were unable to save her.
Nicole and her brother Mikhail were born on Halloween
in 1998 at the John Ball Zoological Garden in Grand
Rapids, Michigan and moved to the Oregon Zoo on
September 12, 2000.
As an Amur tiger, Nicole loved the cool weather and was
especially playful with her brother during snowstorms.
Visitors to the zoo often witnessed her lounging on a rock
next to her swimming pool and rolling on her back for
attention if one of her keepers was nearby.
“Nicole was adored by everyone who knew her,” said
Kim Smith, director of the zoo. “She was an especially
affectionate tiger, but had just enough spunk to let her
brother know she was the one in charge. I know many of
our visitors had a special connection with her and it’s clear
she will be missed.”
Wild Amur tigers are among the most endangered big
cats on the planet, with fewer than 500 believed to remain
in their home range. The Amur tiger species derives its
name from the Amur River, which runs through the
region of southeast Russia to which the subspecies is
native. The median life expectancy for Amur tigers is 16
years for males and 14.3 for females.
North American and European zoos are participating in
AFFECTIONATE TIGER. Nicole (pictured), one of the two Amur
tigers at the Oregon Zoo, passed away last month after experiencing what
was believed to be a seizure. Nicole and her brother Mikhail have lived at
the zoo since September 12, 2000. (AR Photo/Jan Landis)
coordinated breeding programs to help preserve the
critically endangered cats.
To learn more about Amur tiger conservation and ways
to help, visit the website of the Amur Leopard and Tiger
Alliance (ALTA) at <>. ALTA
is an international coalition of organizations working
for the conservation of Amur tigers and leopards in the
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