Catawba teen with cancer: Justin Bieber concert “Awesome!”

adys@heraldonline.comJanuary 23, 2013 

— Emily Elkins slept in Wednesday. Late. It was after 11 a.m. when she awoke, and she had the best excuse in America.

This 14-year-old girl fighting cancer, a day after chemotherapy, had spent hours Tuesday night standing and screaming, through Justin Bieber’s concert in Charlotte.

“It was so, so loud, and it was awesome!” Emily said Wednesday after waking up. “There was fireworks. And there was lasers. And there was Justin. I was right there with him.”

Emily did not just go to the show, she rode in a limousine donated by a reader of The Herald who had seen the many stories about Emily’s courage, and how a donation jar to help her family was stolen from a store.

Emily’s nurses at Levine Children’s Hospital, where she receives the treatments, pitched in to get her the tickets to the show.

The tickets were supposed to allow for a quick meeting with Bieber before the show, but scheduling problems forced a cancellation of a meeting. Emily did not let that ruin her fun.

“I got a T-shirt, two jackets and a hat,” Emily said. “The whole thing was just great.”

Her seat was to the left of the stage, upper deck, but that seat might as well have been covered in nails. Emily’s backside never touched the seat during all 99 minutes Bieber was onstage.

She did not think about cancer, or sickness, or not being able to be in the ninth grade with all her friends.

This is a girl of such kind heart that she has taken a large chunk of the thousands of dollars donated to her family by The Herald’s readers and community donations at fundraisers and given it to others through Christmas presents for poor kids, clothes for the homeless, and more.

Even with her tiny voice, made weak by her illness and treatments, Emily screamed for Justin Bieber Tuesday night alongside almost 18,000 other screamers.

If she had to hold on to her seat armrests for a minute, that is what she did – but no way was she sitting down.

“She’s a trooper; she had a blast,” said Emily’s mother, Annie Brakefield, who went with her daughter. “She screamed and screamed.”

When Bieber sang the famous song “Boyfriend,” Emily was mesmerized. She just knew, in her heart, that the song was for her.

“It was just the coolest,” she said. “Mmm, hmmm, I was looking at him the whole time.”

But maybe, just maybe, her dream of meeting “the Biebs” will come true after all.

Tonight, people from the Make-A-Wish Foundation are coming to Emily’s home to meet with her and her family. The foundation has granted more than 230,000 wishes in 33 years to children with illnesses, and Emily has already passed through initial screening.

Her wish?

To go to Hawaii and meet Justin Bieber.

Emily Elkins, age 14, cancer patient and great, generous kid, Bieber fan extraordinaire, wants to just tell the star how tough it is with cancer for kids.

How she never gave up while listening to him sing.

How she knew he was singing, “If I was your boyfriend...” to her alone among the thousands.

She might even ask for a kiss, too.

Andrew Dys 803-329-4065 adys@heraldonline.com

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