Céline Dion & Heather Tanner (© The Standard)

A fan meets Celine (USA)

On Saturday, August 27, 2005, Heather Tanner met Celine Dion.

"A dream has came true for a former Baker County resident. On August 26, eleven-year-old Heather Tanner flew to Las Vegas to meet her favorite star, pop music crooner Celine Dion.

Heather, who has been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, won tickets to visit the Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and watch Dion perform back in January of 2004 from Celine's official fan website www.teamCeline.com. Since then, because of ups and downs with Heather's illness, she and her family have been unable to make the trip. But in August, things began to pick up and Heather packed her clothes and headed out west to see a dream of hers come to life.

The family landed in Las Vegas on August 26 and took the time they had to rest for the following day, for they knew that it would be eventful. In fact, more eventful than they could have imagined.

After several intense hours of waiting, the big night finally arrived and Heather was as excited as ever. They spent the hours before the show cruising the Celine Dion Boutique in Caesar's Palace where Heather racked up on goodies and a Celine Dion frog.

Next, it was time for the majorly anticipated meet and greet with Celine, which took place before the show. When they arrived Celine greeted Heather with open arms, because of Heather's illness and her being such a fan Celine knew who she was. She gave Heather a bag of goodies that contained such items as a hat, t-shirt and perfume.

She also signed many things for Heather. She even signed a replacement of the CD jacket that Heather had meant to bring but with all the excitement left in the room. Celine and Heather then posed for many pictures that Heather's mom, Calmin took. Even though she was on a tight schedule, Celine was so determined that the experience for Heather was everything she wanted that she had Calmin check the pictures to make sure they turned out before she left. When it was found that some of them weren't quite as good as they wanted, Celine posed some more.

"There's one thing I know for sure," Celine told them. "the show won't start without me."

After 28 minutes of talking with Celine, which is a feat in itself given that the fans are usually only given 15 minutes each to meet with her, Heather and her family made their way to the concert hall where Celine was performing. Heather listened intently to her favorite star sing beautiful music. When the show was ending, it came time for Celine to pick a fan to give a single red rose to.

Though she was ecstatic, Heather made it through the meet and greet and the entire concert without shedding one tear of happiness. It was only when Celine handed her the single red rose that her tears of joy began falling. In an act of kindness and deep sincerity Celine sat down with Heather while the show was going, picked her up, sat her in her lap and held her until she stopped crying. It was truly the night of her life.

Though they were to return home sooner, Heather and her family had to stay a little longer because of a severe sinus infection that was hindering her ability to travel. After seeing a Pulmonologist and being cleared for the air, Heather returned home.

Though her time in Las Vegas was short, the memories will last a lifetime. The night that her dream came true was a night that Heather Tanner will never forget."

[By Bryana Stafford - The Standard www.bcstandard.com"]