Mar 05 2011

“It had been so long since I’d touched someone not wearing gloves”

Category: Children,Humanitarian,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 8:11 am


When Michael and Leslie met for the first time

When Michael and Leslie met for the first time

So said Leslie Robinette upon meeting Michael for the first time on March 7, 1973. Even though he eventually became known as “The Glove“, Michael provided a much-appreciated ungloved hand to a little girl suffering from aplastic anemia.

Here’s the story:


On March 7, 1973, young Michael Jackson visits the bedside of 6-year old Leslie Robinette – suffering from from aplastic anemia caused by the genetic disease fanconi anemia – at the Seattle Children’s Hospital – then The Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center. Robinette received a bone marrow transplant, and was one of the youngest to ever have the procedure. She went through chemotherapy, radiation, an ever-changing plethora of medications and was kept in isolation for three months; her state of health was precarious, the doctors said, after she was dismissed from the hospital, that she might live 10 years.

“I was sitting in my room looking out the window, ironically listening to ‘Looking Through the Window’ by the Jackson 5, when I heard all the nurses going wild and carrying on”, Robinette declares 26 years later. Coincidentally, the Jackson 5 were there. “They asked me which one I wanted to see, and I said I wanted to see Michael – he was the cute one”, she says, laughing. He gave her an autographed picture, held her hand and asked her how she was doing. “It had been so long since I’d touched someone not wearing gloves, and I saw hair instead of just a green cap with eyeballs peeking out,” said Robinette. She describes teenage MJ obviously shy but incredibly kind and sincere. He was only 15. Robinette now believes he must have been more nervous than she was.

“I would never say that he saved her life – that’s crazy – but he gave her back a little of her will to live because she had lost it”, Trine Robinette, Leslie’s sister adds. Leslie eventually did improve, and her family returned to their farm in Greeneville, Tenn., where she still lives with her parents. 11 years later, Leslie met MJ again, while he was on tour in Knoxville with his brothers, where she received free tickets, then went backstage to meet the Jackson clan. “I asked him if he remembered me, and he said yes. We talked about my singing in chorus and how I was getting my back brace off soon”, Robinette says. Michael then told his security detail that she was his guest, so she got to watch the third show from a raised VIP platform, seated right next to his mother, Katherine. Still struggling with her disease, she is less than 4 feet tall and weighs about 60 pounds, but she is now 42 and is involved in North American Riding for the Handicapped Association and currently is training to become an instructor. “I’ve always felt that Michael and I were kind of kindred spirits, because we both grew up not being able to really go anywhere or do anything normal kids do”, Robinette says, adding that she hopes people will remember Michael Jackson for his good deeds and music.

Leslie shares some of her Michael and the Jackson 5 memorabilia here:

Present-day Leslie Robinette

Present-day Leslie Robinette

Even at 15, Michael was very aware of the power of celebrity and always endeavored to use it to help people – especially who were desperately hanging by a thread of hope after having been injured or after having become dangerously ill. When he was in the hospital after having a burned scalp from that horrible accident during the shooting of the Pepsi commercial, Michael took that as an opportunity – not to feel sorry for himself, but to help others at Brotman Burn Center who were much worse off than he, and who were losing hope. As he did with young Leslie, he helped instill in other patients a little more hope while at Brotman.


Kathy was a Intensive Care Nurse at Brotmen Medical Center, the Center where Michael Jackson was admitted when he suffered burn injuries to his head during the making the a Pepsi Commercial in 1984. Kathy, being a fan of Michael Jackson, did not expect that Michael Jackson was going to be one of her patients. Jackson was placed in a private room, room number 3307. As Kathy McGrath, 29 at the time, quoted in The February, 1984 issue of People’s Magazine about Michael Jackson when he suffered burn injuries to his head: “He was still pretty shaken up and cold, so we put about five blankets on him.”

“He was at the height of his career. Being his nurse was an awesome and honorable experience as his music touched me all my life”, said McGrath. Kathy also emphasized one important fact; “As awesome and honorable it was that Michael Jackson was my patient, regardless of him being a celebrity, I automatically went into Nurse Mode. It was important that he had a private room to allow me to care for him and his burn injuries appropriately without interruptions. It is a challenge when giving medical care to burn victims as burn victims can also have other complications related to burn injuries. My job was to make sure all my patients received immediate, top and best medical care, including Michael.”

Instead of a typical hospital gown, he had adorned himself in a turquoise scrub outfit. The nurses also fashioned a head bandage that could be camouflaged with a macramé hat. “You’re going to start a new wave here in 1984—the net look,” nurse told Michael. “He laughed and said he wanted to look French.

Nurse Kathy recalled MJ visiting Keith Perry, a 23-year-old mechanic who had suffered third-degree burns on 95 percent of his body. Perry had just undergone his 14th operation when Michael arrived and was placed in an adjoining room. Another severely burned patient with whom he had been in frequent contact was 41-year-old seamstress Bessie Henderson. “Bessie had gone through many operations and was very depressed, When Michael started calling she turned around and now she is doing a lot better.

Michael cared about Keith and Bessie and many others who were being treated for burns”, said McGrath.

Turning the photos over is where I read in Michael Jackson’s hand writing to Kathy McGrath: “Thank You, I Love You – Michael Jackson”

There is a message Kathy McGrath wants to give to the Jackson family. That message is: “My heart and prayers goes out to the entire Jackson Family for the loss of Michael. No matter what, they are a family and family comes first.”

Michael, Nurse Kathy McGraw along with other medical personnel at Brotman Burn Center

Michael, Nurse Kathy McGraw along with other medical personnel at Brotman Burn Center

_ _ _

{ Thanks to Princess Neyha for finding the information about Leslie Robinette that I’d been looking for! -Seven }

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12 Responses to ““It had been so long since I’d touched someone not wearing gloves””

  1. Hannah K says:

    This is such a beautiful share. He was visiting sick children in hospitals when he was just 15 years old. How many 15 year olds are so other centered? MJ was born with the gift of compassion and deep empathy for another’s suffering. What is so apparent that even though he was in tremendous pain (Look at his eyes in the photo) after his hair was burned in the 1984 Pepsi commercial, he still made sure he took the time to care for others who had been severely burned. Michael Jackson is my hero. Thank you for finding this uplifting story.

  2. Susan T says:

    Thanks for finding more lovely treasures. If only those who hold him in such contempt and continue to believe the tabloid-created caricature could read these stories, talk to those who met him, who knew him personally. It’s part of why we miss him so much. It’s because we know the truth and cannot bear him being dragged through the dirt that causes us such anguish.

    This is a great story.

  3. SandyK says:

    Thank you for your response, Seven….:-)

  4. carina for mjj says:

    Yet one more story about Michaels compassion and emphathy.And for you Leslie, a good
    life for many, many years to come!
    Michael never forgot those less fortunate.Maybe Leslie was not less fortunate as she actually met Michael two times and has done very well in her life so far despite the serious illness and long and harsh treatment it required.

  5. David says:

    Here is a video of an Australian born cancer survivor who was inspired by MJ, and got to chance to see the premiere of “Ghosts” with him, and has worked as an MJ impersonator for many years! A very touching story!

    This video is from MSN Australia, and if you do a search of “Michael Jackson”, you’ll see a lot of Australian news stories on MJ that you’ve probably never seen before, as they’re not available on other websites like Youtube or Bing.

    Just another example of his generosity towards those who are less fortunate!

  6. Lisa MJJ1111 says:

    Beautiful story..thank you Seven..Michael was an Angel/Prophet, a gift from God..All TRUTHS will be revealed..Michael, I will see you in the place where you showed me..A place of lights, colors that i have never seen, a paradise beyond my imagination..and thank you Leslie R. for telling the world your story. May God bless you and your family. And I am sure that Michael is now one of your guardian angels. Michael will be remembered thounsands of years from now, as one the greatest prophets in history..All truths will be revealed.

  7. Seven says:


    Sound engineer Bruce Swedien and others called him simply “The Glove”, although others called him “The Gloved One”. I think either works.

  8. SandyK says:

    Thank you Seven. Beautiful account and fabulous picture…:-)

    By the way, above you mention that Michael was eventually refered to as “The Glove,” shouldn’t that say “The Gloved One”?

    Anyway, thank you once again for your beautiful blog!!!!….:-)

  9. Suzy says:

    Wonderful stories. Thank you, Seven!

  10. Seven's Princess Neyha says:

    My Sweety Seven!!!!

    I am more than happy to have provided anything I could for your website! I am SO excited!!! and have always wished to be a part of your lovely, inspirational work 🙂 My desire was fulfilled today!

    I love you heaps 🙂 xox

  11. Max says:

    Ouch. Its obvious that he was in serious pain. You’ve helped me remember that even way back then Michael was very thin. Look at his arm. He liked his body slender. When the Hulk was working with him in preparation for the This Is It shows, he mentions that Michael didn’t want to build muscles, just strength and endurance. Vegetarians who don’t eat dairy and are sparing with grains, relying mostly on fruits and vegetables, typically have very slim frames. He was ethereal.