Trump invites young cancer survivor from NJ to State of the Union
A young cancer survivor from Morris County was among 13 special guests of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump announced ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union Address.
Grace Eline, 10, of the Gillette section of Long Hill, went through aggressive treatment for brain cancer last year. Even before her diagnosis with germinoma, Eline had made it her tradition to ask for donations to St. Jude's Children Research Hospital for every birthday, instead of gifts.
"She is determined to help other children who are fighting cancer," according to a White House press release.
The fourth grader and her family were guests of honor last August, for a New York Jets preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium, as reported by The Daily Record. After finishing rounds of chemotherapy, the most recent scans show no sign of the disease in Eline.
Other New Jersey residents invited to the U.S. Capitol for the address include two former workers from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
Victorina Morales, who was born in Guatemala and lives in Bound Brook as an unauthorized immigrant, was named as the special guest of U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District.
U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif. also invited Sandra Diaz, a native of Costa Rica, who was an unauthorized immigrant when she worked at the Bedminster club between 2010 and 2013. Diaz now is a legal U.S. resident.
Petty Officer Eric Thornton, a certified Coast Guard surfman and resident of Manahawkin, will attend the State of the Union as the guest of U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J. 3rd. “Petty Officer Thornton represents thousands across our district who have dedicated their lives to serving their country,” Kim said.
A Sussex County mother who started a support group after losing her son to a drug overdose will be the special guest of U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. 11th. Donna Andelora, of Wayne, founded The Lost Angels Bereavement Group.
“Donna has bravely taken the most horrific thing a parent can go through, the loss of their child, and created a stigma-free space to help families in our community struggling with opioid addiction,” Sherrill said.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th, has invited a Bergen County mother whose children have a rare disease as his guest. Annette Leo, from Closter, has two sons diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a rare, progressive neurological disorder that affects about 600 people in the United States.
A surviving sibling of a New Jersey patient advocate who recently died of colon cancer was invited by U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J. 7th. John Lee, an active member of Cancer Support Community Central NJ (CSCCNJ), died on Jan. 25. His older brother, Hing Foo Lee, will represent him at the address.
U.S. Rep Frank Pallone, D-N.J 6th, stayed very local in his invite for the State of the Union. He invited his Congressional intern, Sabrina, of Marlboro. Pallone tweeted the Boston University undergrad is "an example of the countless young people I meet who are ready to learn and serve their country."