Make-A-Wish Idol draws large crowd PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAN SHEPARD, Contributing Writer   
Friday, April 06, 2007

PERU — Four-year-old Fantasia Wells wants to meet Dora The Explorer.
With some help from Make-A-Wish, this dream may soon come true.
Absolute TNA Entertainment is hosting its second-annual Make-A-Wish Idol every Friday night until May 4 at Murphy's Tavern in Peru.
The money raised at Idol will not necessarily go to Fantasia, said Tony Deyoe, TNA co-owner, but it gives everyone a sense of hope.
Last year, $8,728 was raised through the event. After last Friday's earnings, $8,600 has already been raised this year.
Fantasia and her family attend Idol each week, her grandmother Sally Baker said.
When she was 6 months old, Fantasia was diagnosed with cholestatic liver disease.
In October 2006, her parents, Jeff and Aime, and other family members got what they were hoping for when Fantasia was scheduled for a transplant.
"We were very relieved the night it happened," Baker said. "We were contacted on a Saturday night, and the transplant was done the next day."
Fantasia was back in school at Pyramids Preschool three months after her transplant, her grandmother said.
Make-A-Wish is working on setting up Fantasia to meet Dora, but the foundation is waiting for permission from her doctor to see how far she can travel.
Her family supports Make-A-Wish anytime they can — and had been even before Fantasia was diagnosed.
"Now we know first-hand how it helps," Baker said. "They're making a dream come true."
A few days after Fantasia's transplant, the family was told she would have died days later if the transplant didn't take place.
"My heart just dropped; we could have lost her."
But Fantasia is still here, and so is the Idol competition, which drew 17 singers last week.
It is eight weeks long, with seven weeks of qualifying competition, followed by a final round. First place through third place will receive $1,000, $500 and $250, respectively.
Auctions and raffles are done throughout the night to raise money, TNA co-owner Alyssa Rosio said.
A number of businesses sponsor the event, Deyoe said, including C.B. Trucking, Wes' Plumbing & Heating, S&L Trucking and many more.
Three Gap Outlet employees are supporting the event by helping with the raffle and auction and by selling Make-A-Wish bubbles, said Brandy Bishop, Gap Outlet associate manager.
Bishop helped with the Idol competition last year but is now representing Gap. She's allowed to go to businesses and solicit donations.
For every 15 hours of community service, Bishop said, Gap donates $250 to a given charity. Employees are allowed to choose who they help, and Bishop wanted to help Make-A-Wish.
"Kids are our future," she said.
Auntie Anne's in Champlain Centre sold the Make-A-Wish bubbles and collected $1,067.
Before taking control of the event, both Deyoe and Rosio sang in the competition.
It costs $10 to sing, and the money goes directly to Make-A-Wish, Rosio said.
The competition draws some of the North Country's best.
Precious LaFountain, a 19-year-old Clinton Community College student, was the winner March 23.
Her singing ability has been noticed elsewhere. She was a semi-finalist in the age-16-to-54 category of the Mayor's Cup Idol last summer, as was John Brooks, who also goes to the Make-A-Wish Idol each week.
Brooks, from Port Henry, said the event is tons of fun and the people in Peru are really nice.
Baker said helping Make-A-Wish is well worth it.
"The smiles on the kids' faces when they see their dream come through is amazing."



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