Backstreet Boys: Princes?

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Date: Nov 10, 2099
Source: Launch
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By Jason Gelman, New York

(11/8/99, 12 p.m. ET) - The Backstreet Boys made headlines last week with a story concerning the fact that the group would not be able to find the time to visit a five-year-old girl suffering from leukemia in Warren, Mich. The story was picked up nationally, resulting in rather harsh criticism of the pop group on radio and television reports. It also prompted the Backstreet Boys and The Rainbow Connection, who made the request on behalf of the ill child, to issue formal statements on the matter. Now that all parties involved have had their say, it appears as though young Morgan Zalewski will be granted her backup wish by The Rainbow Connection, which is a trip to Disney World in Florida.

Meanwhile, the Backstreet Boys were recently honored as the 1999 Celebrity Wish Grantors Of The Year by another organization that grants wishes to seriously ill children, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.

Backstreet member Kevin Richardson tells LAUNCH about how personally important it is for him to be involved with organizations that grant wishes for terminally ill children. "We had a little girl come in from Make-A-Wish Foundation, and they said that she was going to come in dressed up as a little princess because she thought that we were her princes," he says. "So when she came in, she was just adorable. I mean, it's stuff like that…I mean, she has a terminal disease and it just breaks your heart. I mean, I lost my father to cancer, and so it's moments like that just really make you thankful that you can make somebody happy--make somebody forget about their problems, put a smile on people's faces--I mean, that's where I get my joy."

Richardson adds that he's accepted the fact that the Backstreet Boys are not going to be able to please everybody. "Initially, it bothered me, but now I've accepted it, and it's the fact that you just can't please everybody. Everybody is not going to like our music, everybody is not going to like us. There are going to be people that absolutely hate us and make fun of us and that's fine. It's kind of like if you see yourself in a tabloid, you've approached a level of success that people know who you are, and now they want to start making fun of you."

-- Jason Gelman, New York

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