Dec 15, 2009 10:55 PM by Jeannette Hynes

American Idol contestant donates concert for 9-year-old girl

Former "American Idol" contestant Jason Castro has donated his time to give a benefit concert to a nine-year-old Colorado Springs girl who has been battling leukemia for six years.

It all started as a "Christmas Wishes" letter sent to 98.9 Magic FM from the secretary for Children's Hospital for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Colorado Springs.  The letter talked about Megan's ongoing battle with cancer.  She'll have a bone marrow transplant in January.

At the age of nine, Megan is an expert at chemotherapy.

"I get medicine through an IV," says Megan.

When Megan was three, she kept getting fevers that wouldn't go away. She didn't have the flu or a cold. She has leukemia, a cancer that attacks the blood and bone marrow.

"It's heartbreaking. You don't know what to think or how to handle it. But for Megan, you just be strong for her and you get through it," says Melissa Phalen, Megan's Mom.

Melissa is hopeful a bone marrow transplant will give her daughter the chance to be cancer-free.  The good news is that Megan already has a bone marrow match.

"Never in a million years would I think she could handle this. She's just always so brave," says Melissa.

Melissa says Megan never complains, even during the relapses. Her most recent chemo treatment was just last week. She lost her curly hair, again.

"Sometimes if they like push medicine in too fast, I can taste it and it doesn't taste good," says Megan.

Megan spends a lot of time coloring and collecting stickers while her mom worries about the work that lies ahead. She'll have to keep the house even more germ-free than she does now. She'll have to replace the carpets and keep the house dust and allergen-free so Megan's body can recover.  Megan could spend up to 100 days in the hospital after the surgery, and Melissa will take unpaid time off from work to be with her.

"As a single mom, money doesn't come easy, so there's a lot of financial strain there," says Melissa, who also has a six-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.

Megan is a big "American Idol" fan and a Magic FM loyal listener.  The radio station called Castro's agent to see if they could get the former "Idol" contestant to do a concert.  Castro had been in Colorado Springs at the radio station for a business meeting earlier in the year.

Romi, DJ for Magic FM, says the concert came together quickly.  She met Megan earlier this week.

"She's dealing with this disease, and yet, she's the strongest little girl I've ever met, so yeah, it touched me big time," says Romi. "Megan is someone I want to be when I grow up."

Megan's too sick to go the concert, but Jason will come to her for a visit.

"It's cool because I've never really met anybody like who sings or anything," says Megan.

This strong nine-year-old is planning for the future. She wants to be a doctor.

"I would like try to find a cure for cancer," say Megan.


The benefit concert is Wednesday night, December 16 at Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center (5825 Mark Dabling Boulevard) in Colorado Springs.  Steve Bigari donated the space for the concert.  Tickets are $5 a piece.  Tickets can be purchased at Citadel Broadcasting at the Tiffany Square shopping center at I-25 and Woodmen Road or at the door of Mr. Biggs the night of the concert.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m.


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