By Briana Pastorino, Media Relations Specialist for Loma Linda University Health. Posted Aug 2, 2016 by D Kovacs
If you are a follower of “America’s Got Talent,” you may know the name Nikki Leonti Edgar. In fact, you may know the name Nikki Leonti from even before that; she’s been singing since she was a child, and was a gospel recording artist for some years, before personal crises made her life take a turn in a different direction for a while. (You can read more about her from the links at the bottom of this article.)
What you aren’t likely to learn in any of her biographies is that she has a connection with Loma Linda University Hospital. It’s rather a painful connection. Twenty-five years ago, Leonti-Edgar’s brother was treated for cancer at the hospital, and ultimately lost his battle. It must be painful for the family to remember. Yet they wanted to give something back to the hospital.
Read the whole story here, in a press release by Briana Pastorino.
Band member returns to hospital over 25 years after brother was treated for cancer
LOMA LINDA, CA – July 27, 2016 – Patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) got a private performance from current contestants of America’s Got Talent (AGT), Edgar, on Tuesday, July 26.
Nikki Leonti-Edgar, her husband, Ryan, and daughter Jaslyn, who make up the group, stopped by the hospital to sing and visit with patients.
Edgar performed five songs for an intimate crowd of roughly 50 patients and staff, during which one young patient took it upon himself to join in. Franco Gonzalez Bucio, 2, from San Bernardino, a lover of all things music according to his mom, joined the trio with his pint-sized guitar.
Watch the video of Franco and Edgar here. [Note from Debbonnaire: Do watch this video!!]
“He likes to pretend he can play any instrument,” Maria Gonzalez Bucio said of her son, who has been in and out of the hospital since May battling leukemia. “He even likes to serenade the girls on the unit.”
This visit was Nikki’s first time at LLUCH in over 25 years since her brother lost his battle with cancer. Nikki wanted to give back to the hospital and staff who compassionately cared for her brother by sharing her family’s music with patients, like Franco, who are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
“Seeing these kids struggling definitely makes it hard to keep it together,” Nikki stated, “but knowing we’re bringing joy and a moment away from their individual situations makes it a little easier.”
Nikki, a Corona native, now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. Her oldest, Jaslyn, is the only one singing on the show.
Before they departed the hospital, Edgar got input from the patients on what song they should sing for their next performance on AGT. They also visited with patients on the units who were unable to attend the performance.
The family trio made their debut performance on AGT in June this year and will begin live shows this August on NBC. They hope to return to Loma Linda in the near future to sing for the kids again.
PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the family band Edgar were all smiles as they greeted patients prior to their performance at LLUCH Tuesday, July 26. From left, Ryan Edgar, Jaslyn Edgar, Nikki Leonti-Edgar, LLUCH patient Franco Gonzalez Bucio, 2, along with mom and dad Maria and Rafael Gonzalez Bucio.