While LaughingMom.com generally features posts with a humorous angle, I occasionally write posts which fall under the category "No Laughing Matter".
Racquena Thomas is Justin Bieber’s biggest fan. She is 5 years old and lives in Edmonton, Alberta. She listens to Justin’s music from the moment she gets up until the moment she goes to sleep, holding dance parties with her friends. Racquena has a congenital heart defect. She has spent over two years at the Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital. At the young age of 5, this sweet girl has already undergone multiple open heart surgeries and has used an artificial heart know as a Berlin Heart. As of May 2012, when her family and friends found out Justin Bieber would be performing in Edmonton on October 15, the medical care required for the Berlin Heart prevented her from being able to leave the hospital.
Karli Wilson is a mother. Her child has also been a patient of the Stollery Children’s Hospital, also for treatment of a congenital heart defect. It was there that she met Racquena. Over four months before Justin’s concert date in Edmonton, Karli took upon herself to try to make this five year old’s dream to meet Justin Bieber come true. At the time, the Berlin Heart prevented Racquena from being able to attend the concert, so Karli initiated a campaign to get Justin to come to her.
Karli started a Facebook group called “Let’s get Justin Bieber to visit Racquena when he is Edmonton. Within days the group had over 5 000 likes, a number that quickly tripled. As of Justin’s concert date, the Facebook group sat at just over 17 000 members.
Karli created a YouTube video explaining Racquena’s plight, and more importantly, her love for Justin Bieber.
She engaged the media. Local news teams and newspapers covered the story while local news team Global attempted to contact Justin’s management team and label. The media support became international, with stories about Racquena’s dream being reported in Viet Nam and Brazil.
Karli campaigned. She submitted requests to the Ellen show and contacted his official fan club, members of his team, his public social media sites and Universal Music Canada. Facebook group members started a flyer campaign to help make people aware of the group and its efforts.
Others jumped on the bandwagon. A Google search for ‘Racquena Justin Bieber’ returns over 21 pages of results; in an attempt to reach the super star, over 200 different people reported on the endeavor.
Using the tag #TeamRacquena, Karli and the Facebook followers started tweeting. Advocates tweeted and retweeted Justin’s page, his team, Selena Gomez, even his mom. A few Facebook followers reported that their accounts had been closed; they had been tweeting so much on Racquena’s behalf that they were viewed as spam accounts!
Right down to the wire Karli did local TV and radio news interviews and Facebook followers loyally tweeted.
Sadly, her efforts were in vain. No replies came back - from anyone. Concert day came and went. Five year old Racquena did not receive a visit from her idol.
So how does someone get a super star like Justin Bieber to visit a five year old girl who has spent more than half of her life in the hospital? Karli Wilson and Racquena supporters did everything right. She contacted all the right people, was featured in the news and used social media for its maximum impact. No child could be more deserving than Racquena.
But the concert day did not come and go without some causes for celebration. First and foremost, Racquena’s doctors granted her a pass allowing her to attend the concert. Facebook followers reported seeing her dancing and enjoying the
concert. Second, human kindness came out in droves. In the wake of media reports of Amanda Todd's bullying and internet trolls, it was heart warming to see almost 20 000 people come together to try to make a stranger’s dream come true. Staff from a Shoppers Drug Mart in Calgary, Alberta even got into the cause by hand delivering a gift basket to Racquena, complete with Justin Bieber CDs.
Finally, it can’t go without saying, that Karli Wilson needs to be celebrated. She took it upon herself to try to make a little girls dream come true. She did it without mention of her own daughter and without trying to garner any media attention for herself.
I like to think that Mr. Bieber was simply unaware of the campaign, and therefore not aware of his biggest little fan from Edmonton, Alberta. Now that the Edmonton concert date has come and gone, getting a visit from her idol seems unlikely. In case you are out there Mr. Bieber, I suspect a short Skype call or a recorded video message would be infinitely valuable to this little girl.
Please continue to spread the word:
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