EXCLUSIVE: My Sister's Keeper Child Extra Dies

Jul. 3 2009, Published 11:54 a.m. ET

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In her latest movie My Sister’s Keeper, Cameron Diaz plays a mother fighting for her cancer stricken daughter’s life, but the movie has had its share of real life tragedies.  In addition to Cameron’s father passing away during filming has learned that one of the young extras in the movie recently lost his battle with cancer as well.  Paul Alindog was one of a group of children with cancer who were part of the Desi Geestman Foundation and the City of Hope hired by director Nick Cassavetes to add authenticity to the movie and to help the actors understand the struggle real patients go through.  Paul passed away on May 27, 2009 from malignant peripheral nerve sheet tumor and neurofibromatosis.  "I was very saddened to hear of Paul's passing," Cameron said in a statment to, "His courageousness taught everyone around him how to live more inspired and his kind, generous spirit was a gift to this world. I am glad to have known him, even if it was for just a brief moment. My heart goes out to his family and friends."

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Paul was 18 years old and a straight A student.  “He was so excited when he found out he was going to be in the movie,” his mother, Leoni Bouvier, told  “For him it was just natural to meet the celebrities.  He liked hanging out with the director and with the cast members.  Cameron and Sofia were great and he was very familiar with everybody.”  Paul was given an advance screening of the movie, and when he saw his name listed as a technical advisor in the credits he said “Oh, wow.”

"I was really concerned about how he would feel about the movie,” Leoni remembers, “But he was comfortable about the movie and liked it.”

“What he really taught me is not to give us, to appreciate everything and not take life for granted,” his mother told “Sometimes in the movie there was a lot of yelling, but that’s not him, he was so courageous and calm and one thing that he said was I’m never going to give up.”

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Paul is in a few scenes in the movie, one where he introduces Sofia Vasselievato other kids in the hospital.   “Though my relationship with Paul was much too short it was one of great impact,” Sofia said in a statement to “Paul taught me priceless lessons, and he taught them by example; his determination taught me that no matter the difficulties and challenges that stand in my way, I must strive to achieve what I set out for, his strength taught me to be courageous in light of all that may come and his heart taught me that one can never love too much. Paul loved everyone endlessly, these lessons are little bits of Paul that will live on in me and in all the lives he touched.”

“He told the actors who were playing patients what he felt and how he acted when he heard the news, so he taught them the process of how to react when they heard the news and how to handle things,” said his mother Leoni.  “He was very gracious about it.”  

“He enjoyed being on the movie set,” said his mother.  “He bonded with everybody.  He just blended in; he was able to hang out with them.  I think he was really into it, he enjoyed it, he loved it and he loved the people he hung out with.” 

Ileana Geestman, the director of the Desi Geestman Foundation told that the film makers “Really cared about telling the truth and wanted to honor these kids and their battle.”

Instead of gifts for his birthday in January, Paul would collect toys in December and donate them at Christmas to the patients at the City of Hope .  His mother intends to have this toy drive again this year to honor her son.  “He was my strength and he had a strong faith that never waivered,” Leoni said, “I wanted to honor him in the way that I know he would want to be honored.”



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