Johnny Depp surprises a Berlin woman, who is writing an introduction to her latest children’s book that benefits Make-A-Wish

Actor Johnny Depp has a reputation for embracing philanthropy, and among those who have experienced his kindness is a woman from Berlin.

The actor wrote a foreword in Katie Vandrella’s recently released children’s book for Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International.

The 31-year-old Vanderella, a chemistry teacher at Middletown High School, first met Depp in 2011 in London on the set of “Dark Shadows” when she was granted a wish through Make-A-Wish Connecticut. Organizations grant wishes to seriously ill children.

“He’s the sweetest person you could dream of meeting,” Vandrella said. “He pays complete attention and makes you feel like you’re the only person on the planet.”

Vandrella said that meeting Depp, when she was a teenager with leukemia, changed her life by giving her hope and inspiration.

“His movies helped me get through it,” Vandrella said.

He’s her favorite actor – I’ve seen all his movies – and her favorite movies include ‘Dark Shadows’, ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Benny & Joon’.

When they met in 2011, about a dozen other guys were there because meeting him is a popular desire and he’s always making time, she said. He visited them for 45 minutes, and apparently only left because he was pulled away to start filming again.

She said there was no reason for her to stand out, and she didn’t think he remembered that meeting.

Then in 2018, she met him again for a meet-and-greet and she bought tickets to the rock band “Hollywood Vampires” show featuring Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry. It was there that I told him how I met him in London as part of a wish.

That same year, she published a children’s book “Thumper’s Hospital Adventure” for the wider Make-A-Wish organizations and dedicated it to Depp.

The dedication text: “To everyone who helped me,” Depp then recalled, “who inspired me more than he will ever know.”

Depp heard through the grapevine that he was mentioned in the dedication – it wasn’t Vanderella who told him – and sent her a sweet note written in a copy of the book, saying he was “touched and honored”.

“It took a long time to really process it,” she said. “I felt humbled.”

She finished her second book, Thumper’s London Adventure, one year later but due to COVID and other delays, it was only released about a month ago.

I asked Depp, through the publicists, if he could write an introduction to the book. In this call, she talked about how she wanted to give back to Make-A-Wish because it was an inspiration to her.

“I was expecting a nice, polite, ‘I’m so busy, thanks for thinking of me,'” she said.

But instead, Vanderella got the surprise of her age when Depp sent her an introduction to the book.

It reads: “For dear Katie, for her dear family and friends, and for all the dear children out there. … Please know that you are loved and that we are thinking of you all! With all my love, respect and best wishes to you always…” He gave her his adorable autograph.

“You don’t see all this stuff in the news because he’s not talking about it,” she said.

The first book – the book dedicated to Depp – is about a stuffed rabbit who is separated from its owner in a children’s hospital. The second book, whose introduction Depp wrote, is about the rabbit’s separation from its owner’s family and its negotiation with London.

This time the cover loudly announces: “Introduction by Johnny Depp.”

Both books are available on Amazon and 100% of the profits go to Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International.

Vandrilla, who is in remission, volunteers at Make-A-Wish Connecticut in several ways, including granting more than 30 wishes. Donors interview sick children and their families about their wish, the organization verifies it and then the donor returns to celebrate and share the happy news.

Make-A-Wish Connecticut spokeswoman Chris Moran said Wish the Kids were always a part of the organization’s family.

“We are grateful to Katie for her work as a wish-lover and her assistance at events, not to mention the support through her books that benefit Make-A-Wish,” she said.

Depp could not be reached directly for comment, but Carolina Hurley of Hiltzik Strategies which counts Depp among its clients said: “Make-A-Wish [and] Helping children in hospitals has always been a recurring philanthropic passion.”

Vandrilla plans to write more books for the charity featuring Thumper and his adventures, but is still studying the details. She said there were no plans to involve Depp.

Vandrella said at the time she met Depp in 2011 that she had a “survivor’s guilt” that many of the young people she met during the illness “didn’t make it.”

“Everything has gone up since that moment,” she said to interviewing Depp in 2011. “I’ve seen what my wish has done for me, and I want to push it forward to show that there is hope.”

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