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Sasha Martin Stanford was born in Indianapolis, Headquarters of the Indycar Championship, and was the only child to Martin and Mhari Stanford. Martin was the second generation of Indycar Champions in his family, following his dad who was a two-title champion title holder. Martin always wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps and grew up on the race circuit. It seemed natural that his own son would do the same. Although Sasha's family always planned on having more children, Martin roared up the championship ladder quickly, and by the time Sasha was six, he was the favourite to win a third championship in a row, doing even better than his dad had. He and his wife decided to hold off on trying for another baby until that season was over.
However, everything went terribly wrong that year when Martin was involved in an horrific crash about midway through the season. The crash was so shocking that everyone thought there was no way he could survive it. He did, however he was left quadriplegic and paralysed from the chest down, effectively ending life as he knew it and preventing any chance of him being able to father anymore children.
Sasha was the apple of his eye, and the only thing that got Martin through his recovery. Now nearly eighteen, Sasha barely remembers his dad before the accident. Most of his memories are post his dad's spinal injury, and even though that was his normal, it was hard for him growing up because kids could be cruel and nasty sometimes. Martin found it difficult to stay in Indianapolis, the headquarters of Indycar, so the family made the tough decision to move to Boston, where Martin had been in a rehab hospital recovery from his injuries and trying to adapt the best he could. Although he inevitably kept status in the racing world, and is still well-known to this day, it didn't help with Sasha's struggles growing up with a disabled father.
Sasha befriended Andrea when he was in middle school. Her grandmother was neighbours with Sasha and his parents, and she would bake all sorts of goodies for them and have Andrea bring them casseroles once a month so his mom had a night off from cooking and could have a date night with his dad. Andrea would often come with her grandmother to visit, and she never judged Sasha's dad. In fact, she saw Martin for who he was... a kindly man who still managed to maintain his sense of humour despite the tragedy.
Sasha and Andrea soon became inseparable and ended up going to the same high school together. High school proved to be the hardest change for Sasha. Although the bullying he suffered was never dangerous, it was ongoing throughout the years and going through puberty and just trying to fit in, Sasha just wanted to fit in. He wanted a normal life, and for a little while, resented that he had to have a disabled dad. At least, until his mom sat him down one day and firmly but understandingly told him that he was lucky to have his dad at all still. It hadn't helped when Sasha showed musical promise and the kids teased him about being too dumb to follow in his dad's footsteps like she should because his dad was cripple and couldn't do it. Sasha always wanted to sing professionally. Not front and centre or anything like that, but just be involved in the music industry in some way. The only problem was, he suffered terrible stage fright to sing in front of anyone but Andrea. It made it impossible for him to follow his dream.
Still, after his mom's talk, he pulled himself back together and swore that he was going to make the best of a hard situation. He had a great best friend, and parents who adored him. Puberty might not have been his friend, but he was determined to find his way. High school wouldn't last forever. Neither would that resolve, either. Just after Andrea's eighteenth birthday, she was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and given a year to live. It shook Sasha to the core, but she wanted to live her last year to the fullest, and she wanted Sasha to be there for the ride. She made a bucket list, of things she could at least achieve despite being ill, and they set about crossing as many of the things off as they could. She told Sasha she needed him to stay the Sasha she knew and loved, because she didn't want her final memories of him to be misery and sadness... and she wanted to see him sing on a stage before she died.
Of course, that flipped Sasha out. Not only did she want that, but she set in motion plans to use her Make-a-Wish exactly this. Sasha was one of Justin Campbell, a teenager superstar who had taken Broadway by storm with Footloose: The Musical and was now a two-time Tony Award winner. Justin is Sasha's idol, and not just because he loved the musical, but because he knew Justin had faced challenges to get to where he was. That was what Sasha admired about him. Andrea wanted to use her wish to get Sasha to meet Justin, and ask him about how he overcame the challenges himself to be able to get up on stage night after night and get to where he is.
Sasha is terrified, and riddled with guilt that Andrea wanted this because he doesn't know if he can deliver. In fact, he doesn't know if he can meet Justin without throwing up and passing out from nerves. But how could he possibly say no to his beautiful best friend, whose time on this earth was rapidly running out?