- She has endured two brain surgeries -- but doctors can't remove all of her brain tumor. Facing months of radiation and chemotherapy, Hailey wanted nothing more than a visit from the pop superstar.
After a social media blitz, including the viral Twitter hashtag #justinvisithailey, a radio station helped score meet-and-greet tickets to Bieber's concert Sunday in Milwaukee.
But then a mass shooting at a suburban salon forced the hospital to go on lockdown -- meaning no one could leave.
This is the story of a long cherished visit that almost didn't happen.
- The quest began in late September when a timid Hailey, with a lisp typical of many 4-year-olds, made a personal plea to Bieber: "Justin Bieber, I would really like you to come and see me. I love you."
- As the date of the show neared, Hailey's father, Eric, followed up with a plea of his own. "If there's any possible way that you could meet her -- see her, come to the hospital, say hi -- anything, just for 10 minutes, it would absolutely -- I just know it would put the biggest smile on her face in a time where our family doesn't have a lot to smile about."
- Hailey's plea soon spread through the web community, with tweets and retweets from well-wishers who wanted nothing more than for her wish to come true.
- The sea of supporters posted videos of their own. Students and staff at Holmen High School set theirs to Bieber's song, "Never Say Never." Hailey's family later credited that video for playing a huge role in garnering media attention:
- "But then the unexpected occurred. A man walked into a suburban Milwaukee salon and opened fire, wounding seven people. Three of them died, before the shooter killed himself.
- In the chaos of the situation, the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin went into lockdown. Hailey's family was stunned: "This means nobody is allowed to come or go. What are the chances????!!"
- The Internet gasped a collective "Oh no!"But all was not lost. The hospital allowed Hailey to board an ambulance that took her to the show.
- And Hailey's idol posed with her before he went on stage. "They let us come in backstage and meet her with just the two of them before the meet and greet..let us take pictures, and gave her some gifts. truly amazing," Hailey's mother wrote.
- Before he left for his next stop, Bieber offered the little girl his own words of encouragement:
- In the end, a simple plea of a little girl, a rallying cry of well-meaning strangers and a touching gesture from the biggest pop star in the world all added up to the "best day I've had in a long time."