Meeting Justin Bieber was a dream come true for a Wellsville girl.
Katrina Thomas, 14, who has been confined to a wheelchair since as a result of a spinal injury she suffered in a car accident at age 4, said in an interview, Monday, quoted a verse from one of Bieber’s hit songs, saying she’d like to be Bieber’s “one less lonely girl.” On November 18 at Hard Rock Cafe, Times Square, New York City, Katrina, the daughter of Dale and Tammy Thomas, along with 28 other Bieber fans, had their dreams to be meet Bieber, fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Katrina’s aunt, Shelly Staton, contacted Make-A-Wish Foundation to see if her niece’s dream could be realized, Mrs. Thomas said. While this was Katrina’s first trip to New York, she has been to Disney and on cruises.
“They all sat up in front of the stage at Hard Rock Cafe,” Mrs. Thomas, Katrina’s mother said. “We left November 16th and stayed the 17th, 18th and 19th. They were with him from 9 a.m., to noon and had breakfast with him; watched “Never Say Never,” (autobiographical movie of Bieber’s life); and he answered questions from the kids.”
Mrs. Thomas said at one point, Canadian-born, Bieber hoisted a girl on his back and gave her a piggyback ride fulfilling that child’s wish. The singer, who also acts, took time to talk to each fan individually. Katrina, a 9th grader at Northern High School, who is a quadriplegic, was “a little star-struck,” she said.
“He said ‘hi, how are you Katrina,’” Katrina, who speaks very softly as a result of respiratory difficulties arising from her injuries, said. “I gave him a glass coaster with my picture and thank you written on it. He gave me an autographed picture.”
Bieber, Mrs. Thomas said, told his fans that he enjoys working with Make-A-Wish Foundation by meeting fans because “it puts a smile on their faces.” Katrina added Bieber lived up to her expectations and was as nice as she thought he would be.
Make-A-Wish Foundation also provided the families with tickets to Central Park Zoo, that Thursday. Katrina had decided to wait to see Bieber until he was in driving distance of her home. Mrs. Thomas said her doctor preferred that she not fly. While not impossible, air travel presents some medical issues for Katrina, she said.
“I want to be a singer,” Katrina said. “I like pop, hip hop and country music.”
When classmates learned she had met Bieber, some of them were “jealous, but they were also happy for me. I was excited and happy.” During their stay, they visited Macy’s Department Store to see the Make-A-Wish Foundation display, Mrs. Thomas said.
In addition to her mother and father, Katrina’s sisters, Kaylee, 17; Sondra, 23; and Carissa, 21, along with their children; and her nurse, accompanied her on the trip.
For more information on Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org; for more information on Bieber, visit www.justinbiebermusic.com.