BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – What a pleasure to meet such a humble and big-hearted Grammy Award nominee! Paula DuPre’ Pesmen was an Associate Producer on the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove” a few years ago and she is nominated for a Grammy for the music category for producing the Netflix documentary “Quincy” about Quincy Jones.
She’s been a producer on the first three Harry Potter movies, as well. And that’s where the story of There With Care begins.
Pesmen’s beloved husband, Curt, had advanced colon cancer 20 years ago. That gave her a real sense for what families go through when a loved one is dealing with a serious medical issue. It’s a crisis for the whole family.
Well, Curt recovered and Paula headed back to the set of the first Potter movie. Shortly thereafter, she got a phone call from someone asking if a terminally little girl named Gillian could visit the set. She was a huge Potter fan.
Well, Pesmen along with all the actors and crew members, made sure Gillian had spectacular time.
Pesmen quickly realized how special it was for Gillian’s family to be able to get away from their medical crisis for one day and just be a family having fun. In all, more than 65 seriously ill kids would visit the sets of the first three Harry Potter movies.
“Spending a day with those families was absolutely magical. Just a great way to get them away from their troubles and everyone on the set was fantastic,” she said. “We had gaffers lifting up wheelchairs and makeup artists working on the kids. Just beautiful.”
Because of her husband’s cancer battle, Pesmen knew what it was like for a family to feel isolated during the treatment schedule. She wanted to do more, and boy did she!
Pesmen founded There With Care in Boulder in 2004, and now there’s a second office in Palo Alto, California. Combined, they have served more than 4,000 families going through a medical crisis.
“I feel like I can keep learning and keep contributing, but in a different way,” Pesmen said about her new passion. “And since I’m still working on projects … I really enjoy my dual life. My producing skills translate to the nonprofit world because I’m always trying to find resources and get things together. And things are always changing on the fly.”
Pesmen and her volunteers provide a wide range of services for the families helped through There With Care. From gas cards and free tires to help families transport their sick children to hospitals, to clothing for all the kids in the families and ready-to-eat meals to make the home life a little easier.
“Families tell us even the little things we can do make a huge difference, and they genuinely appreciate the fact that total strangers know what they’re going through and are eager to help.”
Now when she looks back on her husband’s cancer fight while she working on the Potter movies, Pesmen knows everything happens for a reason.
“In a way I think everything came together so that today we would be here helping. It gave us a new purpose and a new way of helping people.”
I will say this after spending time with this delightful woman — Paula DuPre’ Pesmen deserves a special award for dedicating her life to families going through incredible struggles. She’s absolutely a star.
You can watch the Recording Academy’s 61st annual Grammy Awards live on Sunday on CBS4 at 6 p.m.