The Rock couldn't make it to her prom. So he hijacked her school's PA system instead.

Ever consider inviting a celebrity to your prom?

It's almost become a tradition: teens shouting out requests on Twitter and Instagram, hoping their plaintive cries (a limo! a full meal at Olive Garden! dancing till dawn!) will catch the hearts of their favorite celeb.

Most of the time, there's no response. Sometimes, these promposals are (rightly) criticized.


This year, though? Something amazing happened when one Minnesota senior invited Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to prom.

In a Twitter video posted in mid-April, Katie Kelzenberg — dressed in her own version of one of The Rock's most iconic looks (yeah, I'm talking jeans and fanny pack) — laid out the reasons Johnson should come to prom with her.

Her tone? A strong attempt at the "smoldering confidence is my superpower" that Johnson is so well known for.

Her reasons? Undeniable.

And yes, that's a pillow with The Rock's face on it. (Do they even sell those in stores? Was it a custom order?) You know Kelzenberg must have taken some ribbing for that pun at the end — but only because it's so good and we're all just jealous we didn't come up with it first.

Listen, if nothing else, this promposal took some nerve. Maybe that's something she learned from Johnson? Don't be afraid! Shoot your shot! Live free or die hard! (Wait...)

But Kelzenberg couldn't have known what The Rock was cooking.

Most celebrity promposals end up as nothing more than a story about the time you invited a famous person to prom and they never responded. But that's not how The Rock works. The guy lives and breathes good deeds. When he's not charming up the movie screen, he's constantly bringing love and sunshine into the world.

And Kelzenberg was no exception. While Johnson couldn't come to prom, he wanted to make Kelzenberg the queen of her high school. So he coordinated with her school and got on the morning announcements.

"Let's start this Friday morning announcement with a little bit of fun and a little bit of excitement," Johnson said via the intercom.

That's Kelzenberg in the red shirt below. And she was feeling a lot more than a bit of excitement. In fact, she looks like someone might need to check on her. Is there a doctor in the school? Because a self-proclaimed "big, brown, bald, tattooed guy" just made her entire year.  

And then he made it even better. "Because we are now best friends and I have so much love for you because you're so awesome, I have a very special gift," Johnson said.

Uh, what could be better than the gift of "best friendship" with The Rock? (which he fully means, by the way. You're in Johnson's orbit — you're now buddies for life). Maybe renting out an entire movie theater — all 232 seats — for Kelzenberg and her friends and family to see his latest film "Rampage" will make up for the fact that The Rock can't make it to the big dance.

And if Kelzenberg was at all sad about him missing her big day? Well, Johnson also bought out all the theater's concessions too. And he posted a special video to thank her for her request on Instagram. (From the gym, of course.)

SURPRISE KATIE KELZENBERG! About a week ago, I come across a video on my Twitter feed, from a student at Stillwater Area High School (oldest high school in Minnesota) asking me if I would be her date to her prom. Unfortunately, I’ll be shooting during that time in Hawaii, BUT I was so impressed by this young lady’s charm and confidence to even ask me (ladies always get shy in front of me) that I had to do something special. I decided to rent out an entire theater (capacity 232 seats) in her town so Katie and her closest 232 friends and family can enjoy a special screening of RAMPAGE. And all the free popcorn, candy and soda high school kids can consume! You’re money’s no good Katie... everything is on Uncle DJ. 🤙🏾🍿 🍭🥤!! And I also taped a special morning message surprising Katie and her high school that will play across the school’s intercom system... literally...RIGHT NOW, Katie should be turning red hearing me surprise her in front of her entire school. I wish I was there in person Katie, to see your reaction to all this, but I’ll hear about for sure and most importantly - you and all your friends have fun at the theater and ENJOY RAMPAGE! Thanks for being an AWESOME FAN and I’m a lucky dude to have fans like you. Uncle DJ 🤟🏾❤️ Ps - the gorilla in Rampage is way smarter (and better looking) than I am, but don’t tell him that because he has a HUGE ego 🦍

A post shared by therock (@therock) on

"This is for a very special young lady," Johnson started enthusiastically before making sure he was pronouncing Kelzenberg's name correctly. "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for inviting me to your prom. I just want to thank a moment to let you know how awesome you are."

This is the kind of positivity we all need in our lives. But you don't have to wait until prom to create it.

In his message, Johnson thanked Kelzenberg for stepping out of her comfort zone to ask him to the big dance. Johnson was so happy he beamed, calling it "the best and coolest part of my job," in a tweet.

And that's the real message here. She took her shot and touched someone in a big way. That kind of positivity is something we should all be working at on a small scale.

So let's take a cue from Kelzenberg and The Rock and make an effort to step outside our comfort zones every day. You never know what good things might happen!

via KTLA 5 / YouTube

A little after 7:30 on Tuesday night, Los Angeles County Sheriffs received multiple reports about a herd of cows running through the streets of Pico Rivera, a city 11 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

This Twitter video does a perfect job of encapsulating the surprise residents felt when they saw 40 cows running through their quiet suburban neighborhood.

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via KTLA 5 / YouTube

A little after 7:30 on Tuesday night, Los Angeles County Sheriffs received multiple reports about a herd of cows running through the streets of Pico Rivera, a city 11 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

This Twitter video does a perfect job of encapsulating the surprise residents felt when they saw 40 cows running through their quiet suburban neighborhood.

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True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."