Many horror movies get kind of bloody, but Heather Sossaman, who plays Laura Barnes in the just-released “Unfriended,” is using blood to save people’s lives behind the scenes. That’s because she’s a big supporter of Music Saves Lives, a nonprofit that uses the music and entertainment mediums to encourage blood donation and bone marrow registration.
“Music Saves Lives is a really awesome organization that’s super close to my heart,” Sossaman told MTV News. “I’ve lost a couple family members to cancer in the past years, specifically lymphoma, which is a blood cancer. Music Saves Lives helps those fighting leukemia and other blood cancers by meeting donors at concerts, taking blood donations and registering you for the National Marrow Registry. It’s really great for young people, because we don’t always know how we can help even though we want to help.”
She appreciates how Music Saves Lives goes right where the young people are. “They go to the actual concerts. You can donate blood right there. They’ll give you backstage passes and help you meet your favorite band. It’s a really cool way they help you connect to the artists and they help educate you.”
So how do you find out what concerts they’ll be at next? Sossaman recommends you check out their website or Twitter for starters. “They even have an app where you can locate Music Saves Lives blood drives,” she said. “If you’re ever at a concert and see the big Music Saves Lives booth or bus, pop on over and see what information you get and how you can help. It’s important people know about these kinds of diseases because what’s unique about blood cancer is [that] we actually can help by donating.”
Heather was also happy to talk with MTV News about “Unfriended,” which hits theaters nationwide today. The horror movie takes on the theme of cyberbullying, but for many young people, cyberbullying is a horror that’s all too real. Sossaman would know: She’s experienced it firsthand.
“I was definitely cyberbullied in high school and sometimes really bad,” she revealed. “If you keep your head up and keep going, everything will always pass. The best revenge, per se, is to just be happy and successful. You can’t always control other people, but you can control what you do and what you say.”
Sossaman has overcome her cyberbullying past, but it’s also true that if you ever feel scared or threatened by cyberbullying, it’s safe and important to talk with an adult you trust, like a parent or teacher.
“I think one of the most important messages [from the movie] is you don’t always realize you are bullying just because you think somebody deserves it or they’re not a very nice person or you’re doing it anonymously,” she said. “Words can really hurt. We all have to learn to respect each other more and make sure we don’t hide behind the anonymity of the internet. Because if anything, that makes you more of a coward.”