ST. LOUIS, MO — More than 20 St. Louis area youth from The Children's Miracle Network, The Make-A-Wish Foundation and H.I.S. Kids will be going to "the concert of the year" next Monday, July 2, compliments of Verizon Wireless.
The teens, all with special needs and very special stories, will attend the sold-out *NSYNC concert at the Trans World Dome as guests of Verizon Wireless, a sponsor of the *NSYNC 2001 POPODYSSEY Tour.
"For many kids and teens, a chance to see *NSYNC live in concert is a dream come true," said Kirk Golbach, president of Verizon Wireless for the Kansas/Missouri Region. "We are extremely pleased to help that dream come true for many special youngsters who are fighting hard to overcome their illness. We hope they all have a wonderful time at the event."
Some of the youth will get a special bonus of attending a Sound Check Party with the band during the afternoon prior to the concert. The VIP audience, including the teens, will have the opportunity to listen to the band sing a few songs and then may ask questions of *NSYNC and will receive autographed pictures of the group.
Among Verizon Wireless' guest VIPs are:
- Jennifer Steinmann, a 15-year-old Rosati-Kain Catholic High School student who is battling bone cancer. Jennifer's magnetic personality and strong spirit have inspired many of her fellow students to help her create a "Scarf Day" to benefit a summer camp for other kids suffering from illness. The Florissant youth's courage and ingenuity have been profiled in the local media and commended throughout the community.
"Jennifer is a shining example of an extraordinary person who has risen to meet the challenge before her," said Jill Kharibian of H.I.S. Kids, a nonprofit organization that serves seriously ill children and their families.
Dan and Laurie Steinmann, Jennifer's parents, will attend the *NSYNC concert with her.
- Ashley, 15, of Cottage Hills, IL., who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Ashley was selected by The Make-A-Wish Foundation and will attend the concert with her grandmother.
"Ashley is absolutely thrilled that's she's going to see *NSYNC," said Sandra Lehrer of Make-A-Wish.
- Lauren, 16, of Florissant, who has Lupus. Lauren will attend with her friend, Katie Mathias, as a Make-A-Wish representative. Lauren's wish is to someday present a music award with *NSYNC band members.
"This will truly be an unforgettable night for Lauren," said Lehrer.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses to enrich the human experience. It is the largest wish granting charity in the world, with 81 chapters in the United States and its territories and 22 international affiliates spanning five continents.
The Children's Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis (CMN), a non-profit agency that raises funds and awareness for St. Louis Children's Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, is sending 16 teenagers and their friends or family members to the concert as Verizon Wireless' guests. They include:
- Shannon, 15, of O'Fallon, who was born with kidney disease. At age 10, she received a liver transplant from her father and, two years later, came down with Burkitt's Lymphoma, a rare form of leukemia. Last year, a new cancer was detected in her kidney and she has been on and off dialysis ever since. She expects to receive a kidney transplant from her twin sister, Erin, next year.
- Christina, 13, of South St. Louis County, who has undergone extensive chemotherapy due to a malignant tumor wrapped around her spinal cord. Now considered "cured," Christina has started a program to help other children and families dealing with cancer.
- Kristen, 15, of St. Charles, Mo., who has survived a cancerous tumor of her kidney.
- Katie, 11, of Belleville, Il., who is in the middle of a 19-month chemotherapy and radiation treatment for a tumor on her optic nerve. Still a "tough competitor" on her swim team, Katie is legally blind in her left eye and has no peripheral vision.
- Lindsey, 18, of Creve Coeur, who has recurrent Hodgkin's Leukemia. In 1995, Lindsey received a stem cell transplant that was followed with radiation treatment.
CMN returns 100 percent of the money its raises to be equally divided between St. Louis' two area pediatric hospitals.
"These young people are examples to us all as they face their daily lives with optimism and joy," Golbach said. "For a few special hours, we hope their time with *NSYNC provides them more energy and enthusiasm to continue their quest to lead full lives and help others."
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 27 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.