Londonderry teen to get wish granted to meet Justin Bieber
Ashley Nelan, 18, who suffers from a seizure disorder and is unable to speak, will travel to Arkansas next month to meet her favorite singer, Justin Bieber, as part of the Make-A-Wish program. COURTESY
LONDONDERRY - Eighteen-year-old Ashley Nelan is unable to speak, but her smile says it all when she’s listening to her favorite singer, Justin Bieber.
Music sooths the body and soul of the Londonderry teen, who uses a wheelchair and suffers from a seizure disorder, according to her mother, Diane Pelletier.
After watching Beiber’s movie, “Never Say Never” last year, it soon became quite clear that the popular young singer had found a lifetime fan in Ashley.
“His songs would start playing and Ashley would break into an enormous grin: she’d begin swaying in time to the music,” Pelletier recalled. “We realized then that she had quite a thing for Justin Bieber.”
A lifelong friend of Ashley’s, Derry resident Jennifer Forys, 17, met Ashley when she was a young child accompanying her mother, registered nurseAnn Forys, on her home healthcare visits.
While the elder Forys moved on after caring for Ashley for over 13 years, Forys remained in touch with the young girl she considers her best friend. The two girls spend time together each weekend and have a close bond.
Wanting to do something special for her old pal, Forys invited several friends over her house for a “Bieber Fever” party, with Ashley as the evening’s guest of honor.
That night, Forys and their friend Theresa Gratton visited the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire’s website, and nominated Ashley for the chance to one day meet her favorite performer.
Months later, Pelletier received a call informing her that Ashley’s wish would soon be granted.
Ashley, accompanied by her mother and the two Forys’ will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas to see Bieber perform next month and spend time with the singer over the course of the three-day trip.
Founded in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Based in Phoenix, AZ, the organization is now one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving kids in every community of the United States and its territories, according to the Make-A-Wish website.
Corporate and private donations make it possible for the organization to grant a child’s wish in this country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 226,000 wishes since its inception in 1980- nearly 14,000 in 2012 alone.
On Friday afternoon, the Macy’s store at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester will celebrate Ashley’s wish by giving the teen a special shopping spree to prepare for her upcoming visit with Bieber.
As part of the stores’ “Believe” campaign, Macy’s is donating $1 to Make A Wish for every letter to Santa mailed inside one of its stores.
On Dec. 14, the company’s “National Believe Day,” other children’s wishes will be granted across the nation, according to company spokesman Deb Daigle. The goal is to donate $1 million to the Make A Wish Foundation this year.
For Ashley and those who love her, the holidays will be all the brighter this year.
“My heart was just throbbing when I found out Ashley was chosen,” Pelletier said. “We’ve watched his movie about five times now, but it never gets old for Ashley. When her iPod is playing Bieber, she just has that special glow about her.”
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