I will never forget the 19th of July 1997. I went to see my hero, Michael Jackson, in concert. It was my second MJ concert and I was so excited and happy that he had come back to Dublin.
During Michael’s show, he has his security people find fans to come up on stage for a particular song. I have Morquio syndrome and security were looking for somebody small. My sister pointed me out and said, “You won’t get anybody smaller!” For once in my life I was so thankful to be small! I will be forever grateful to my sister. When the security man picked me my whole body started shaking, not because I was going to be in front of 35,000 screaming fans, but because I was about to come face to face with my all-time hero!
While I was waiting just offstage Michael ran past me, and I let out such a scream that I thought he must have heard me. Thankfully, with all of the noise on stage, he didn’t! The music for "Heal the World” came on and I was wheeled onto the stage. Michael held my hand. Normally I wouldn’t feel anything in my right hand as I had lost feeling in it a few years before, but that night I could actually feel Michael’s hand. He turned to me as we headed off of the stage. He told me that he loved me and I knew that he really meant it!
Being so close to him was amazing. The only way to describe it is like a spiritual experience. I felt so much love on that stage; love and happiness. When I got offstage I burst into tears. My friends’ young children who were also at the concert kept asking if I was I ok, and my mother told them, “She is fine. She’s only crying because she is happy.” The memories of that day will stay with me forever and they help me whenever I am sad or upset.
A few hours after the concert, I could feel a burning sensation up and down my right arm. The next day I had feeling back in my right hand. I truly believe I got my feeling back from simply holding Michael's hand. My Ma said, "With 35,000 people singing such a positive song as “Heal the World,” you were bound to get a miracle.”
I thought I would share this with you, as only true MJ fans would truly understand what happened to me that night. Even though I am in a wheelchair, that night I felt like I was walking on air. I was 18 then, and now thirteen years later I can still honestly say that meeting Michael was the best day of my life, and I am so blessed and thankful that my dream came true.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: When Michael passed on I felt as though I had lost a member of my family; he had been a major part of my entire life. Way before we had met he had been the biggest influence on me for as long as I can remember, getting me through so many bad experiences that I had as a child. I took his death badly and I felt so lost and confused that I needed to do something for him. I took it upon myself to organize a tree planting for him. I felt that wasn’t enough though, so on the 8th of August 2009, alongside the tree planting, I organized a Michael Jackson Memorial / Fun day, with all proceeds going to a children’s hospital that I myself had attended throughout my childhood. I also did the same this June, the day after his first anniversary, and I will continue to do so every single year for as long as I can. It’s my way of giving back and saying “Thank you!” to Michael for all that he has done for me and millions of others worldwide. Michael's tree stands proudly in a park in Dublin, surrounded by a children’s play-area. I think he would have liked it
Christine Dowling, age 31, Dublin, Ireland