, Derry, New Hampshire

December 20, 2012

Londonderry girl gets wishes granted

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — His music makes her smile.

For 18-year-old Ashley Nelan, hearing the music of teen singing sensation Justin Beiber puts a big smile on her face.

The Londonderry teen is in a wheelchair, is nonverbal, and suffers from a seizure disorder. Hearing Bieber sing is great therapy.

Now, Ashley will get a special wish granted through Make-A-Wish of New Hampshire and will fly to Little Rock, Ark., next month to meet Bieber in person.

On Dec. 14, Make-A-Wish New Hampshire officially granted Ashley’s wish during a visit to Macy’s in Manchester.

Macy’s is teaming up with Make-A-Wish through the store’s “Believe” campaign.

At the store, Ashley was treated to a celebratory cake, a makeover and a chance to pick out a special outfit for her trip next month.

Ashley was nominated for the wish by her best friend Jennifer Forys, who will accompany her on the trip of a lifetime to meet Bieber.

The young woman’s biggest challenges have always been seizures. Jennifer’s mother was Ashley’s nurse for many years and will also make the trip.

Ashley’s mother, Diane Pelletier, said when her daughter hears the music, it’s like a “miracle.”

“She lights up with smiles, her feet go, she is so thrilled,” she said.

Ashley may have up to 10 seizures a day. Pelletier said since she has been listening to Bieber’s music, her condition has improved.

Pelletier said her daughter’s relationship with Bieber began when the singer’s 3D film, “Never Say Never,” was released.

“It was the first time she had been to a music movie,” she said. “It was like she wanted to jump out of her chair.”

They ended up seeing the film five times.

“Every time, she wanted to reach out and grab the guy,” Pelletier said. “And she would then go for a couple of days without seizures.”

This year has been a good one for Ashley, one of her best, her mother said.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of young people like Ashley with life-threatening medical conditions and has more than 25,000 volunteers all around the country.

Wishes are granted somewhere in the nation about every 38 minutes.

As part of Macy’s “Believe” campaign, children are also invited to drop off their letters to Santa Claus at store mailboxes. For every letter received, Macy’s gives $1 to Make-A-Wish.

“Our goal it to create generations of customers who believe in the importance of goodwill, not only during the holidays but throughout the entire year,” Macy’s chief marketing officer Martine Reardon said.

Ashley leaves for Arkansas on Jan. 8 and will see Bieber in concert on Jan. 10.