After FOX23 aired Malerie Levens' story last week, CNN picked up the report about a young girl who wants to see Justin Bieber in concert before she loses her sight to a rare eye disease called Stargardt’s.
Since the story aired, her family has been blown away by the amount of support and compassion shown to them by complete strangers.
“From the moment it aired, just this outpouring of people who care,” Eric Levens told FOX23.
His daughter Malerie is also shocked that her simple wish could get so much attention.
“It's just awesome. It's just amazing how fast it was picked up,” she said.
On Monday, they were invited to FOX23 and told reporter Adam Paluka that people have offered to take Malerie to Bieber's show in Tulsa, with their own families.
A wonderful idea, but Malerie's parents say after considering it, they don’t think it is realistic for a child with special needs.
“I do feel very flattered by the offers, but she's my 11 year old baby, and I can't let her go with a stranger. I just can’t,” Malerie’s mother, Paige Cromwell, said.
“As much as we'd like to say, ‘Ok let's do it.’ We have to be patient at the same time,” Eric said.
Justin Bieber's Tulsa show could be too late. Malerie is rapidly losing her vision.
“We don't know what January has in story for us,” Eric said, “Time is of the essence, and the clock is ticking.”
One donor even pledged $2,500 to help make Malerie's dream come true.
“I am humbled by it all, I am ecstatic and overjoyed, there are not enough words,” Cromwell said.
The family says this story won't end when she sees Bieber. Eric said Malerie’s family is determined to pay it forward.
“There are thousands of kids in the same position as Malerie. They're just getting their life started and then bam.”
Malerie's family would like to start a foundation for children with severe visual impairments.
“We're using Malerie's wishes as a platform.”
No matter what happens, Malerie says her life is better for sharing her story.
“A lot of things have changed. I've met new people who have my eye disease; I’ve heard a lot of people wanting to help. I feel more supported,” Malerie said.
Malerie is still an 11 year-old girl who is hoping there's a chance that there's an unopened e-mail in Justin Bieber's inbox with a story that's changed a young life.
“(I keep thinking) maybe today he's going to find out, maybe today he's going to see the video, what if,” Malerie told FOX23.
Because of the outpouring of support, the family has set up an account at Bank of Oklahoma for people wishing to donate to help make Malerie’s dream a reality.
Malerie's family has also created a Facebook page with information on the disease and the foundation they have started. To visit the page, click here: https://www.facebook.com/mlevensvowfoundation