MERRIMAC, Mass. — In August, Avalanna Routh "married" teen singing sensation Justin Bieber. This week, she finally got to meet her husband.
Routh, 6, was diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumor, called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT), when she was 9 months old. The tumors strike the brain and central nervous system.
Aware of Avalanna's crush on Bieber, her nurses at the Jimmy Fund clinic threw her a pretend wedding. She wore a red "Future Mrs. Bieber" T-shirt and blue tutu, and carried a bouquet of flowers.
There were bridesmaids, guests, a wedding cake — and the groom, once the staff pasted a poster of Bieber to a piece of cardboard.
"I like his music," Avalanna said a week after the "wedding." "I love to dance."
She dreamed of meeting the singer one day.
News of Avalanna's quest to meet the celebrity spread when her family and friends turned to social media to get Bieber's attention. A Facebook page was launched, Get Avalanna to Meet Justin Bieber — more than 10,000 users "liked" it. A Twitter account was also created.
Their plan worked when Avalanna's story caught the eye of a friend of Bieber's manager. Calls were made and plans were set.
Avalanna and her family traveled to New York on Monday where she met Bieber, according to postings on Facebook and Twitter. Photos were posted online of the two playing together and Avalanna (wearing a "Be Mine" T-shirt with hearts on it) giving the singer a kiss on the cheek and fixing his hair.
"Justin Bieber has finally met his wife!" read a posting on the Facebook page. "Mr. And Mrs. Bieber enjoying their Valentine's Day date together."
Katie Lovett is a reporter for The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.