Crab Cake Row: Andrew’s Laughing Gas turns farts into laughs and hope for survival for kids

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Paul and Colleen Mercier have experienced every parent’s worst nightmare but are giving back with love from the heart of their lost son. Tears and laughs from Pappas in Cockeysville on “A Cup Of Soup Or Bowl” for the Maryland Food Bank. And, you can go and support them this Saturday night at “Music For Laughs” at Recher Theatre in Towson.

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Paul Mercier, Nestor J. Aparicio, Colleen Mercier

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:04

Now we get to segments left we are live at Pappas in Cockeysville. If you’re in the neighborhood come by have a drink. I hear there’s a big game on Sunday we’ll be at Hollywood Casino. My wife and I are gonna play blackjack and look for Taylor Swift. It’s been an amazing week. I don’t want to belabor the point do all my plugs. I’ll do that stuff later. I had the folks from Andrews laughing gas here, Colleen and Paul. Mercy you’re not mercy a you’re not French maybe I looked at and thought maybe they’re from Quebec or Leone? I’m not sure. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. You have pink unicorns. And you don’t get asked to do this much apparently. Right? Who who set you up on this blind.

Paul Mercier  00:43

So one of our good neighbors, Sarah Barber. set us up on this blind date, as you say, one of our very active members of our team. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:52

you’ve got a story to tell. So let’s tell your story, then we’re going to talk about ways to help out and I’ve had a lot of incredibly uplifting, interesting stories this week. I’m gonna let you paint your tale. I know. You got a tough one to tell.

Colleen Mercier  01:08

Yeah. So thank you for having us and allowing us to share our story because that’s, you know, our biggest piece right now is sharing the story and reaching other families that might be going through what we went through. Sad story short, our son was diagnosed with leukemia here at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, two days before his 10th birthday. When was this how long this was in 2019.

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:35

It was very recent. Okay. And

Colleen Mercier  01:36

it was, we didn’t see it coming. We didn’t other than being sick and a little tired. We had no idea and so all happen fast. We were in the hospital and there was nothing else to do other than to jump on the roller coaster and, you know, go with the ups and downs. He was pulled out of school. This all happened in April. So he was pulled out of school, we were in the hospital, we were out of the hospital. And, you know, it was a whirlwind. And it was extremely tough time for not just us, but Andrew, he was 10 he just turned 10 And he’s you know, wanting to be with his friends and wanting to play and he actually like started to miss school, which you know, you that tells you how awful it was that he missed school. But um, one of the things that he received in the hospital was, you know, he received a lot of gifts, a lot of shirts, a lot of well wishes, but he received from one of the staff members, a farting unicorn.

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:41

Is that a farting unicorn?

Colleen Mercier  02:42

So not just a farting unicorn, but it was controlled by a remote control and the one he received was about three feet tall. So it was a huge farting unicorn. And this kid had seen some dark times. But this brought him joy, so much joy. And he was gifted this unicorn by a staff member who thought I know just who to give this to I know who this is going to bring joy to. And the beauty was because it’s run by remote control that he could hide it in his bed under the covers, and prank, unsuspecting nurses, doctors, staff and so we can demo it here.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:25

Well, I’m gonna need a microphone here. Let me put it up to my face is it farting? Asal

Colleen Mercier  03:39

there’s there’s 15 different parts that come with it.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:47

Oh, smells like beans. I do you know my story?

Colleen Mercier  03:53

We don’t know.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:57

Okay, on March 23 2014, my wife was summoned to Johns Hopkins and was told she had

Colleen Mercier  04:06

just devastating. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:07

I told the story in the last segment that Chuck pagano was our first phone call on the Ravens coach who was a friend of mine, he was the Colts coach then he had just beaten leukemia. He was the only human we knew who had leukemia that we could call, like, we’re gonna call Chuck. I hope he calls his back. Right. We call back in five minutes. He was driving to dinner with his wife he pulled over it’s been an hour and a half. And the last thing he said to us is, this is going to be awful. It’s going to be terrible. He told her every in graphic detail everything’s going to happen. And he’s like, but in the end, this will be a gift to you. So I guess Lila’s gift and you guys are going to be the last hour of all of this. Bring us full circle on on on your boy and the full story of everything that happened in the end there at the hospital because you But then it would kill my wife. And you know the hospital. She’s in the Kimmel up on the on the corner where I looked at a Popeye’s for about a year and a half up in the corner. She knew where the good rooms were. She knew where the good ventilation was spent 155 nights there. So she was in and out plenty. She had two transplants. She was fixed. And then a year later it came back. So we knew our way back there. She almost died the second time, just comas, all sorts of weird, awful stuff. She’s alive. She’s great. She’s going to meet me for dinner tonight. But we would honor good days on her. There weren’t many, but she had some good day, she could take her poll and report. And we would take the elevator from five down to the cafeteria. And we would take the long hallway. And we’d see kids there. Oh, she couldn’t go down. She was like, I can’t go down there. Okay, you know, I go anywhere in the hospital, but I can’t be with his kids.

Colleen Mercier  05:57

It was hard. It was hard. We were on the 11th floor. I know. I know. The Popeyes. Do you talk about we know, I’ve never

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:03

been on your floor because like, I couldn’t do it. It’s

Colleen Mercier  06:06

tough. It’s tough. But yeah,

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:09

I’m not good at this. I mean, next Saturday, I’ve been roped into being the emcee for an LLS event. I told him, I’m not gonna make it. You know, like, I’m just not gonna make it. It’s not that it’s not gonna go. And then I hear stories like and you know, Andrew, and so Paul, pick up the story here. From Colleen. Yeah,

Paul Mercier  06:27

so not long before Andrew passed, he passed just before Christmas and 2019. So he had about an eight month battle. Not long before he passed, we decided, hey, Andrew, we need to figure out how to make these animals and get them to the kids on your floor. Why? Because they did not exist so that you know, the fart machine and the remote control exists, but them in an animal didn’t exist. As they were given to him. It was a one off.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:51

We didn’t get this figured out manufactured fart unicorn.

Paul Mercier  06:54

It was done by a surgeon at the hospital. Actually. I want to beat him. Yeah. So fast forward. About a month after he passed, we kind of start cracking the code on how to do this. And again, the goal was to raise $500 and try to get about 40 animals to Johns Hopkins. That was our goal at the time. We just passed four years now. This morning, I got my 73rd hospital across the country. And we’re just a few animals short of 5000 animals being sent to cancer patients cancer kids across the country. All kids all across the country coast to coast. Yep. Wow. And so since then, we’ve we’ve expanded the nonprofit. We fill up the crafts and game rooms of hospitals of a cancer floor so we are sending games and toys and books. One of the things that we noticed when Andrew was there walking around the hospital in the socks, they give you those non skid socks. No they appear to be one size fits Nobody

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:49

I know I know all about those things. So we I know the Smith My wife can’t do what the smell of the soap. And and the other thing that really really gags me and gags her those plastic bowls and dishes that came up every night for breakfast lunch and dinner. They had that smell of plastic being boiled, like it was like steamed plastic from the from the the dishwasher. You know, like not good hospitals so not good now. You know very bad you know? So.

Paul Mercier  08:24

Yeah, so we’re trying to make their stays a little a little more fun, a little more pleasant. Making the kids smile. The parents smile, the doctors and nurses smile. The feedback we’ve gotten is guys

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:34

from where y’all were from Towson, Towson. All right. Well, I know you came highly recommend that as someone with a beautiful story. What can people do other than cry and I’m gonna hug you haven’t hugged anybody all week. And I mean that I haven’t hug people I love this week, I’ve been fist bump and I was so afraid to get sick. And then not having to cancel all of this because I get sick. It’s over because I don’t want to get emails sick. So like I’ve been really really trying to not touch people. And you know, I did have a lady today and set really far away from me. So I lean into you, but you’re getting hugs for me. But what can people do besides hug you?

Colleen Mercier  09:12

Well, we fundraise. We have a couple of different fundraisers that we do so that we can you know, make these animals buy the materials that we need.

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:23

Farting pink unicorn in their life.

Paul Mercier  09:25

So we actually have about 30 or 40 Different animals but the immediate

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:30

we have other animals a fart. Oh yeah,

Paul Mercier  09:32

we’ve got about 40 different dogs. Real animals

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:35

like unicorns, right?

Colleen Mercier  09:36

No, no, no, no, no, thank goodness no.


Nestor J. Aparicio  09:40

40 kitty cats. We do we do. Cat doesn’t fart. She’s gonna have

Colleen Mercier  09:45

a great cat white cat. Yeah.

Paul Mercier  09:47

But if people want to help us out, actually next weekend. We have at the record theater. In fact in Towson shout out to Brian. Thank you. We’re hosts hosting live music for laughs This is our second annual live Munich music for laugh benefit concert who’s but who’s playing? So we’ve got a couple all free local bands. So Captain hustle, local band, the squeegees who was actually comprises of one of the band members was Andrews oncologist so that’s pretty special to us.

Colleen Mercier  10:15

I’ll see when I pan

Paul Mercier  10:17

and then sort of the headliner is high and tight they play all over the area here and they are just absolutely incredible we’re playing here

Colleen Mercier  10:23

all covers covers

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:26

so like that’s not It’s not like far from me right

Paul Mercier  10:29

so Saturday night if they go to the Saturday the 17th record

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:34

have anything to do that night any of you come on now come on out support how much tickets and all that get give us the lowdown $25

Paul Mercier  10:40

for tickets. They should be available to door if they don’t sell out ahead of time. Otherwise, you can go to the wrecker MD

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:46

can you buy 14 unicorns there or anything like that? No, they can only be gifted they’re

Paul Mercier  10:50

only gifted we sell them once a year around Thanksgiving but we reserve those for the kids going through the toughest part of their their lives.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:56

What What I’m saying is could I buy one to gift it that you know, but I wouldn’t do that. I would call you and you a gift. Yeah,

Paul Mercier  11:02

so through our webpage. Andrews laughing

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:05

So if you want one of these to a sick kid, you go to you. Yep, you make a donation and boom, you make this happen.

Colleen Mercier  11:12

Absolutely. Yeah. That’s how we make purple unicorns

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:15

are no orange.

Colleen Mercier  11:16

We do have purple, purple,

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:18

orange is the new purple. Right? I mean, right? Now the orals are under new management and you know, the new and improved or as well. I’m gonna hug you. And I’m gonna say all of you incredible courage.

Paul Mercier  11:33

Thank you. Thank you. Thanks. Thanks for having us. Nestor.

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:37

I can get sick now. We’ll step out take a break. I’ll compose myself back for more right after this.

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