It remainsto be seen if Chris Medina--who became the early sentimental favorite on"American Idol" this season, after sharing his heart-breaking tale of the tragic autoaccident that left his fiancée, Juliana Ramos, paralyzed andbrain-damaged--will win "Idol" in the end. But he and Juliana have clearlyalready won the hearts of many viewers, who have rallied around the couple andhave so far raised $27,000 to help with Juliana's mounting medical expenses.
Accordingto TMZ, donations started pouring in after "Idol" fans watched Chris'sJanuary 26 audition, during which he told the judges about how Juliana sustaineda traumatic brain injury in an October 2009 horrific car crash--only twomonths before their scheduled (and now indefinitely postponed) wedding--and howhe has since become one of her primary caretakers. "What kind of guy wouldI be if I walked out when she needed me the most?" he explained. By thetime Juliana was wheeled into the audition room by her mother to meet StevenTyler, the Web was abuzz.
Since then,Laurus Foundation webpage set up to collect donations for Juliana's medical billsand the "For Juliana" Facebook tribute page run by Juliana's mom havebeen flooded with well-wishes and contributions. Additionally, Illinois's King Heating &A/C Company donated and installed a $4,000 heating unit in the Ramos/Medinahome when it was learned that the family's furnace had stopped working. Chris says he plansto play a free concert at King's once he is off "Idol," as a way of thanking the company.
"The generosity of gifts is only exceeded by the generosity of spirit," Juliana's mother, Janet Barnes, blogged on Facebook. "You see, everyone approached us last night wanting to help us in some way. A donation, an inspiration, an act of service. My family and I are truly blessed, beyond measure. One of those donations came from KING HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING who called us yesterday to offer us a NEW FURNACE. Yes they did. I know. I KNOW?! We were overwhelmed and rather stunned because you see...(and if you ever doubt that things happen for a reason...) just a month ago our furnace broke (they did not know this) and we were kicking it to keep it going until we could get it repaired. I am so grateful. And did I mention they called us last night and came to install it TODAY?? When have you ever heard of service THAT good? Thank you!!"
Storieslike this prove just how deeply "Idol" can affect people. Yes, this "Idol" season has way too many sob stories already, and Chris has been somewhat unfairly accused of exploiting Juliana's plight to improvehis chances on the show. But all I can say is, if his"Idol" appearances draw attention to Juliana's cause and help her getthe care she needs, then that is a very good thing.
To donate to Juliana's cause, click HERE.