Justin Bieber is rarely out of the headlines for one reason or another. But as far as the Make-A-Wish foundation is concerned, the 19-year-old is doing great things for others.
Back in April, manager Scooter Braun first revealed the teen star was on track to break Make-A-Wish’s record for granting more wish requests than any other musician in the foundation’s 33 year history.
At the time, Make-A Wish didn’t put a figure on Bieber’s wish count, but now they have.
On Monday, the organization confirmed the Canadian singer has granted nearly 200 wishes.
Putting those stats in perspective, last year World Wrestling Entertainment superstar wrestler John Cena was honored by Make-a-Wish for granting the most wishes by an individual to date. At the time, his wish count was 250 and now exceeds 300.
Bieber’s relationship with the non-profit organization that makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions is not only impressive but long-standing.
The pop star has been working with the foundation since 2009 and meets with terminally ill or very sick children who have requested it, and when possible, before every concert he gives.
In fact, four Make-A-Wish children — (then aged) Sydney, 12, Julissa, 9, Holly, 11, and Kari, 16 — appeared in Bieber’s 2011 “Pray” music video, although he performed the song for the first time at the 2010 American Music Awards.
One young girl, Monroe Medrano, an A.L.L Leukemia sufferer, met the then 16-year-old singer in August 2010 when she was five-years-old.
At the time, she had just completed a course in chemotherapy and traveled with her family to meet the pop star at the Paso Robles State Fair in California.
During their meet, Bieber gave Monroe and her sister autographed T-shirts and various gifts. He also gave Monroe a brand-new, autographed Gibson guitar and encouraged her to learn how to play.
Monroe’s verdict on her wish:
“Thank you! This is the bestest day in my whole life, ever.Thank you for my perfect wish.”
In 2011, the teen star received Make-A-Wish’s “Chris Greicius Celebrity Award” for his outstanding dedication to wish granting. The foundation not only praised his work with them but other charities the singer supports through his online Believe Charity Drive.
At the event, Make-A-Wish said of Bieber:
“He shines as a Make-A-Wish supporter. He’s grown from a new celebrity wish granter into an ardent and innovative philanthropist — and he’s tireless in encouraging fans to get involved.”
In 2013, the Make-A-Wish foundation granted over 226,000 children in the US their one expressed wish, along with thousands more in the 47 countries it operates in around the world.
Despite widely reported missteps, some of which are alleged, it is commendable that as well as the outreach work Bieber supports through — Pencils of Promise, fundraising into AT/RT brain cancer research inspired by his friendship with the late Avalanna Routh who died last year aged just six, the Child Hunger Ends Here initiative, Stratford House of Blessing other food banks, donations to charities from his 2011 Christmas album and Someday fragrance, as well as ongoing donations, visits to Whitney Elementary School and sustaining success in a stratospheric career — he has clocked up close to 200 wish requests in just four years.
Recently asked for her take on her son’s headlines during her book tour for the new teen-specific edition of her autobiography Nowhere But Up, Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette said:
“I definitely think he’s getting a bad rap, but I’m also not naive to think that my child is perfect and making all the best decisions of his life.”
She added: “He knows what I disagree with, and he knows all the things I’m really proud of him for, too. I mean, people don’t talk about all the great things he does every day. Every night before a show, he meets with Make-a-Wish kids. He goes to sick kids’ hospitals. He visits with them… takes his time. He gives back to charities.”
According to the results of a 2011 Wish Impact Study that surveyed wish parents, doctors, nurses, health professionals, a combined 89 percent said a wish experience empowered children with life-threatening medical conditions to fight harder against their illnesses.
The Justin Bieber Experiment?
Seeing how far Make-A-Wish’s announcement travels.
— Make-A-Wish America (@MakeAWish) July 15, 2013