Justin Bieber made history earlier this month when his single, Baby went diamond, making it the most popular song ever. But over the weekend he made history of another sort when he helped to make a young fan’s dream come true. For a change, the teenage singer has done something that hasn’t resulted in more negative press, he broke a record for generosity that has raised the pop star’s reputation considerably and he broke a record when he did it.
The 19 year-old pop star set a wonderfully different kind of record on Saturday August 17 this year. The Canadian singer granted his 200th wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation which has put him in a special category. He is the first recording artist throughout the foundation’s history to grant 200 wishes.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit charity organization that was founded in the US. The foundation grants wishes to children who have terminal or life threatening illnesses. For a child to qualify for a wish, they must be between the ages of two and a half years-old and 18 years-old when they are referred. The child’s doctor is the ultimate authority is deciding their eligibility.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has 62 chapters located throughout the United States and they operate in a further 47 countries around the globe with 36 affiliate office. David A. Williams is the president and CEO of the foundation.
The foundation came into being in spring of 1980. A seven year-old boy, Christopher James Greicius was being treated for leukemia. Chris had always wanted to be a police officer. A United States Custom Officer, Tommy Austin became friends with young Greicius and he arranged for the Arizona Department of Public Safety officers to work out an experience for the boy. The experience turned out to be a day long jaunt with Chris being a police officer. His activities included riding in a police helicopter; getting a custom-tailored police uniform; and getting sworn in as the first honorary Department of Public Safety patrolman in Arizona state history.
Christopher James Greicius passed away soon after his experience, but his wish became the inspiration for the world’s largest wish-granting organization. In 1993 Make-A-Wish International was officially created to serve five countries outside of the United States. The original countries were the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, Pakistan and Turkey. The International Foundation division now helps to grant children’s wishes in 47 countries on five continents.
WWE Superstar John Cena holds the record for the most wishes granted at over 400. But Justin Bieber has just leapt to top of the list of recording artists who have granted wishes. This is the side of Justin Bieber that the media don’t often see or report on. His generosity in taking the time to make a fan’s dream come true shows that Bieber isn’t just a “mistake prone” young famous tearaway who pays little attention to the law.
Eight year-old Annalysha Brown-Rafanan was the 200th child to benefit from Bieber’s generosity to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She got to meet her idol in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday. Entertainment Tonight reported that Annalysha turned her “meet-and-greet” opportunity into a Question and Answer session.
The eight year-old asked a lot of questions, not least of which, was would he marry her. For the record? Bieber said yes. Annalysha suffers from a life threatening liver condition and her mother was very pleased that her daughter got to meet her idol.
Entertainment Tonight spoke to Annalysha’s mother, Cortina Brown. The eight year-old’s mother said, “Justin Bieber makes her happy, and through all her illness and poking and all that, it just takes away from ‘I’m sick.’”
There is no doubt that the young fan must have felt like a princess given a magical gift. Justin’s support of the Make-A-Wish foundation can only be called brilliant. He, like many other stars, showed that he can be a “class act” by making time in his busy and hectic schedule to help a child who idolises him.
Justin Bieber has quite a few critics. But with his latest act of selfless generosity; in taking the time to make a very young fan’s dream come true shows that he really doesn’t deserve all that negative press. The news that Justin is the first recording artist to reach the 200 wishes granted mark, shows that he can do much more than make headlines for his mistakes.
By Michael Smith