The best part of any Star Trek convention isn’t seeing your favorite celebrities on stage. It isn’t about all of the cool new merchandise you can buy. It’s about your fellow fans; making new friends and being reunited with old ones from all around the world. Check out these two heartwarming convention stories about your fellow Trekkies: how Scott Palm, a Star Trek fan with cerebral palsy, raised funds to come to the Las Vegas convention with the help of DS9’s Chase Masterson; and the reunion of a fan with Nichelle Nichols after 27 years.
Chase Masterson Helps Scott Palm Come to Star Trek Las Vegas
Scott Palm is a long-time Trekkie who also happens to have cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that has confined Scott to a wheelchair. Scott only has the use of one forearm and finger, which allows him to use a communication device built into his chair in order to speak with people, since he cannot use his own voice. Scott has a sharp mind and a passionate soul, which he uses to help others with disabilities. He has a job training caregivers to work with disabled people in the state of Washington. Chase was so inspired by Scott’s story, that she hoped to see him again at the big Las Vegas convention. Despite Scott’s good job, he just didn’t have the funds to send himself and his two caregivers to Las Vegas. So, Chase helped him raise the funds by reaching out to members of her fan club and encouraging Scott to get a sponsorship from the company that makes his chair’s communication software, Prentke Romich Company. We had the pleasure of meeting Scott and asking him about his experiences in Las Vegas. Chase filled us in on more of the details while Scott typed out the answers to our questions.
TrekMovie.com: Is this your first time at the Las Vegas convention, Scott?
Scott Palm: Smiles and shakes his head “yes”.
TM: It is! And, I hear you have a wonderful story about how you got here.
Scott: I met Chase last August at the Seattle convention. And, we started talking about this convention in April.
Chase: And Scott expressed a wish to come to Star Trek Las Vegas. Scott is amazing. He does work as a trainer for caregivers in the state of Washington. He trains caregivers to care for people with disability. He has a good job, and he works hard at it. But, he didn’t have the money to make this trip, so we decided to set about raising it. We made a couple of announcements, and some people in my fan club helped us raise the money. And, we needed some more, so I suggested to Scott that he volunteer to write some articles and do some press for some of the companies that he works with, including the one that makes the communication device in his chair, Prentke Romich Company. What better way to inspire people than to tell his own story? The Prentke Romich donated matching funds. So, Scott raised about $1400 and the company came in with the rest of the funds and doubled that. Scott was able to fly from Seattle with his two caregivers and attend the convention.
TM: Has Scott had a good reception here at the convention?
Chase: Scott’s had an amazing reception.
Scott: Oh yes!
Chase: Creation [who runs this convention] donated Scott’s Captain’s Chair ticket. Everybody’s been lovely to Scott, right Scott?
Scott: Oh yes!
Chase: I just thought it would be great to be able to tell people however possible that your dreams are valid. Your dreams are your dreams partly because we’re meant to have our dreams come true. Not all of them always do, of course. But, when you work hard and you have a plan, you can make amazing things happen in your life, and I think Scott is a great example of that. I’m just grateful to be able to help.
TM: Scott, what’s been the best thing about the convention?
Scott: The people who I have met.
When we asked Scott if there was anything else he would like to say to people, he smiled and punched up this message:
Nichelle Nichols Signs Convention Photo from 1987
In 1987 in Salem, Oregon, a father was taking his 10-year-old son to a Star Trek convention. “I had wanted to see Uhura (Nichelle Nichols),” Joseph Azar, now 37, tells TrekMovie. “But, my father said we couldn’t stay to see her panel, which was at 4:00pm.” A local reporter overheard the conversation and must have felt sorry for the disappointed young boy. He approached the father and son, telling them how he was to interview Nichelle in her hotel room and inviting them to come along. Of course, Joseph was thrilled. He was able to meet Nichelle who treated him very kindly. The reporter took photos of Joseph and Nichelle, and when he wrote up his newspaper article, he sent the photo negatives to Joseph as a keepsake. All these years later, Joseph found those negatives in his home. He had never developed them. The Las Vegas convention was already on his schedule, so he decided to finally print the photos to bring with him. This time, he was able to stick around for Nichelle’s panel and even get an autograph. She signed one of those 27-year-old photos, remarking, “Aren’t we gorgeous!”