Entertainment

'Idol' contestant receives special donation

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A hometown American Idol hopeful didn't make it into the top 24 contestants, but he is still a winner in many people's eyes.

Chris Medina's story of standing by his fiancée after being severely injured in a car accident pulled at the heart strings of many viewers.

Mobility Works and BraunAbility presented a van, equipped with a wheelchair ramp, to Medina and Juliana Ramos on Wednesday. The manufacturer says the van sells for about $45,000.

The accident, which took place weeks before the couple was to be married, left Ramos in a wheelchair.

Since then Ramos has focused on her recovery. Medina says the new van will make a big difference.

"It makes life easier, it makes life more normal, you know. And the thank you doesn't even cut it. Those words don't cut this type of generosity. It's too incredible," said Medina.

The companies first became aware of Ramos' situation after Medina's performance on American Idol.

"When we saw the story of that Chris had on American Idol and his love with Juliana, it moved all of us. We know how much an accessible van can totally change her life and allow you to have the courage to just get out and go to a restaurant," said Bill Koeblitz, Mobility Works.

Medina said he went on the American Idol with the goal of bringing attention to Juliana and raising money for her medical needs. When he failed to make the cut Jennifer Lopez, who is one of the show's judges, broke down in tears.

But Medina says he has no regrets or disappointment.

"It ended where it needed to end with American Idol. I don't know if I even really needed to win the whole competition to succeed in what I wanted to do, even though I feel like a hero to her," said Medina.

Aside from the donation of the van, Medina has also helped to raise more than $120,000 after his American Idol appearance. In addition, a song Medina dedicated to Ramos is in the top 30 on iTunes right now. A portion of the proceeds from that song will go to Juliana's foundation.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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