American Idol Fans Have Fun, Building Lasting Friendships While Helping Others

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Cure diabetes; help bring peace to northern Uganda; help kids go to school; send candy to troops in Iraq; check on caregivers and people who live alone; or how about build a new wing for a children's hospital? These are just some of the efforts that American Idol fans have supported, not only on behalf of their favorite Idol, but simply because they can pool their enormous well-organized resources together to make a difference.

Cure diabetes; help bring peace to northern Uganda; help kids go to school; send candy to troops in Iraq; check on caregivers and people who live alone; or how about build a new wing for a children's hospital?

These are just some of the efforts that American Idol fans have supported, not only on behalf of their favorite Idol, but simply because they can pool their enormous well-organized resources together to make a difference.

The list of fortunate charitable programs who have received contributions from this rapidly growing fan base includes well-known organizations such as UNICEF, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Children's Hospital and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as newer organizations which have benefited from awareness and contributions such as the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, GuluWalk, CheckOnMe.org and others.

Many celebrities have put their names and visibility to work for the causes they support, but what makes this network of givers stand out is their passion for being part of a nation of tightly bonded fan-friends. American Idol fans are not on board because they are star-struck, but because they identify with someone who was just like them or like the people they know in their hometowns, families, schools, at work and places of worship. The exuberance that these supporters embrace from rallying around the lucky few contestants who become finalists for the American Idol reality TV phenomenon is unlike any other magic they have experienced in their lives in a long time.

These motivated followers find clever ways to organize and fund parties, hold successful auctions and craft sales, purchase music, concert tickets and merchandise for themselves and their friends, and of the greatest importance, raise and donate money to the causes that are important to the people — fans and celebrities — they care about.

There is a Web site you can visit that has started to connect all of these wonderful efforts under one umbrella. It started as a popular fan site for Elliott Yamin, the third place winner in the American Idol Season 5 competition, hosting a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation that has already raised tens of thousands of dollars. Now it is growing into a place where fans of other Idols can find information on current fundraisers and events, while being entertained with fresh photos, video and stories. The Web site is EddieTheDawg.org — so named after a rescued canine who has suffered with diabetes for five years, went blind and had vision restored, and is happily involved with raising funds for diabetes at a ripe old age, somewhere beyond 110 dog years.

EddieTheDawg.org is a place where you can watch Elliott Yamin sing the National Anthem before the Walk To Cure Diabetes in Los Angeles; join a juvenile diabetes walk team with Gregory Ellis, a young actor who performed with Clay Aiken's Joyful Noise tour; watch a video of PricewaterhouseCoopers staff packing a mound of candy into shipments to troops stationed in Iraq; participate in an online auction to win autographed items from Ace Young to help fund a new wing for The Children's Hospital of Denver; read about Clay Aiken's Presidential appointment to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Committee For People with Intellectual Disabilities; listen to Richard Simmons on Sirius Satellite Radio discuss diabetes and obesity; see exclusive photos of Elliott Yamin when he arrived at the White House to meet the President; see close-up photos of Taylor Hicks, Mandisa, Kellie Pickler, Chris Daughtry and others on tour, and much more.

Visit EddieTheDawg.org (http://EddieTheDawg.org) for more information or to sign-up or donate to one of the current featured events. Right now you can join Gregory Ellis on his first walk to find a cure for diabetes by walking with him, donating, or sending him a personal greeting online. You can also join a top online Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF team to collect donations that purchase "School-in-a-Box" kits to help kids get an education around the world.

If you are not one already, when you visit this Web site you may become a fan of the humanitarian side of these talented young men and woman and their supporters.

About the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, there are 20.8 million Americans with diabetes, and as many as 3 million* Americans with Type 1 diabetes. More than 13,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the U.S. each year. There are at least 194 million people worldwide with diabetes, and the World Health Organization anticipates this number will more than double by 2030. For more information on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation visit http://www.jdrf.org.

  • Type 1 Diabetes, 2004; KRC Research for JDRF, Jan. 2005

About UNICEF

Founded in 1946, UNICEF helps save, protect and improve the lives of children in 157 countries through immunization, education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority. For more information about UNICEF or to make a donation, please visit http://www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4UNICEF.

American Idol® is a registered trademark of 19 TV Ltd. and FremantleMedia North America, Inc. The EddieTheDawg.org Web site is not affiliated with FOX, FremantleMedia North America, Inc. or 19 TV Ltd. and is sponsored by CheckOnMe.org and hosted by iWorkPlace, Inc.

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Steffanie Lynch
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