The Today show helped make a dream come true Monday morning, when Lance Carr of Colorado got a phone call from the program's fourth-hour hosts, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
Carr, who, since the age of 10 months has had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, is the first winner in the show's "Everyone Has a Story" contest in which entrants sent essays telling their story, explaining what makes it special. The prize? A chance to have his story to told on the air – and have a brand new song, inspired by the tale, written and performed by a Broadway star.
As Gifford said of 38-year-old Carr – who wrote in to say that his father Larry is his hero – his disease renders him unable to move any part of his body except for his thumbs, making him completely dependent upon his parents.
Despite his condition, Lance wrote that he considers himself "the luckiest man in the world" to have the parents he does, and is especially blessed to have so selfless and sacrificing a father as Larry.
And it was Larry who answered the phone when Gifford and Kotb called – two hours before Today aired in their time zone (so the family had no way of knowing that Lance's was the winning essay).
'You're the First'"Hello?" Lance said when he got the phone. Gifford told him, "You're the first one chosen."
"All right!" exclaimed Lance. "I can't believe it. I'm so excited."
Admitting, "It's going to be tough," Lance said that he and his parents could still get on a plane later Monday and fly to New York to be on the show. "I'm ready," he declared.
And, yes, the two show anchors had tears in their eyes.
All told, there will be eight "Everyone Has a Story" winners.