Alexa Carle-Hébert’s Front Row Experience: Harry Styles LIVE
Illness: Spinal Cord Injury (C5)
Alexa Carle-Hébert has a smile that can light up a room.
It’s hard to comprehend that 6 years ago she was fighting for her life.
On May 20, 2012, she was a passenger in a car, stuck in traffic, when an 18 wheel truck crashed into her vehicle from behind.
At just 16, Alexa had broken her neck and was devastated to learn she was paralyzed from the chest down.
After 2 months in the ICU, a year in rehabilitation in Montréal, and another year in the U.S. for special physiotherapy, Alexa began rebuilding her life. To say the journey was difficult is a massive understatement. Known previously for her joyful spirit, she struggled in the darkness of her new reality. Music had an enormous impact on her during this time and she credits the band, One Direction, with returning her to herself.
With her new-found happiness and shifted perspective, Alexa went on to finish high school from her hospital bed and now attends University, where she studies communication.
But that’s not all. Along with her dad (a professional illustrator), she founded the Fearless Dreamers Project, which creates drawings of children with severe health conditions—however they want to be characterized. They’ve made superheroes, doctors, princesses, football players, and more.
Alexa’s heart for others and desire to spread hope in the midst of brokenness is inspiring.
She continues regular physical therapy and has to be cautious to protect her health. Her lungs function with 50% capacity and respiratory illnesses can be particularly dangerous for her. However, in true Alexa fashion, she chooses to focus on the positive.
Our Canadian team was deeply moved by Alexa’s story and sprang into action planning her dream event. Alexa’s 3 bucket list items drove the planning process:
- Seeing a concert in the front row (or close!)
- Seeing Harry Styles (formerly of One Direction) in concert
- Going to a concert at the Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Garden was a critical component of this experience as it’s one of the only venues that allows wheelchairs in the front row. Despite seeing Harry numerous times, Alexa had never seen him up close and post-accident she had been unable to have a good view at one of his shows.
So when Alexa got the news—that she’d attend a Harry Styles concert at Madison Square Garden UP CLOSE—she was overwhelmed with emotion that her dream would come true!
Her big moment finally arrived and Event Director Wilson Wong met Alexa and her parents at the airport. As the family and Wilson were about to get into the cab, another vehicle clipped their car. “You can’t write this any better. Welcome to New York!” Wilson laughed.
From there, they cruised to The Row hotel for the warmest welcome by the entire staff. Frank Sinatra, another one of Alexa’s music faves, was blaring from the speakers as they entered. Alexa’s ADA accessible suite was incredible, decorated to the nines, with every corner of the room stocked full of thoughtful gifts.
The family and Wilson met up for food later that night, walked to Central Park, and chatted about anything and everything. They made it an early night to be rested and ready for Harry the next day.
Concert day was here! Due to airline complications, our other Event Director, Rebecca Herzog, was first delayed, only to later find out later that her flight was completely canceled. We can now look back and see just how serendipitous this was. Alexa’s best friend, Emily, just happened to be in NYC and was able to take our spare ticket and join us for the concert!
Emily surprised Alexa in the lobby and Alexa had her hair done (it was gorgeous!) by The Row hotel who generously donated their services.
The crew headed to Dos Caminos for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed all the special touches that the restaurant and Wilson had coordinated. And then…
On to the main event!
After making friends with security guards, Wilson was able to get Alexa moved up from the 5th row to the 1st row (final bucket list item: CHECK!!) and the VIP treatment ensued. Wilson and the security guards were on top of making sure people weren’t inadvertently blocking Alexa’s view.
HARRY DID NOT DISAPPOINT! The energy of the show was pure awesome! Alexa’s dad, Louie, was so happy to see his daughter taking it all in, fully alive and having the best time. Alexa and Emily sang along to every song and were beyond thrilled to share the experience together.
The group headed home with no shortage of Harry Styles swag, energized and chatting until midnight. Front row moment accomplished!
Alexa, your incredible mindset and compassionate heart are a gift. Keep living life in the front row!