Fourteen-year-old Chloe Coffey of District Heights recently got to live the dream of many teenagers: she got to meet her favorite boy band, Mindless Behavior.
“They’ve been one of my favorite groups since they came out. I bought their first CD and went to their concert,” said Chloe, who met the four-member band March 10 through the Kids Wish Network, an international charity based in Florida. Kids Wish Network works to provide positive memories for children ages 3 to 18 who have gone through life-altering situations.
Chloe, her three siblings and her father, William Coffey, have sickle cell anemia, a hereditary disease that warps the shape of red blood cells and causes patients to experience episodes of throbbing pain throughout the body and shortness of breath. The disease affects up to 100,000 Americans annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nonprofit organization paid to fly Chloe and four other family members to California to meet Mindless Behavior in Universal City. Chloe’s mother, Nataya Coffey, said it was the family’s first trip to California. The charity covered their four-day hotel stay and meals.
The hip-hop/R&B group of four teenagers recently released a new album, “All Around the World,” and have served as the opening act for Justin Bieber, the Backstreet Boys and Janet Jackson. They also star in a documentary/concert movie, “Mindless Behavior: All Around The World,” released at select theaters March 15.
Chloe described meeting the group as “overwhelming,” saying they hugged her, signed her poster and accepted a card she made for them. Chloe said she was especially excited to tell her friends since they also like the group.
“They seemed like cool people and had energetic behavior,” Chloe said about the group.
Nataya Coffey said the meet-and-greet at a restaurant, where Mindless Behavior was premiering its new documentary, was so “crazy,” she never saw Chloe meet the group because of all the security and fans — although Chloe’s father got close enough for pictures.
“I got the joy of it, because it was something I’m not able to provide for her. She was just so happy to meet her boy band idols,” William Coffey said.
Mindless Behavior representatives did not return requests for comment.
Chloe also got a trip to the Universal Studios theme park, where she got to meet many of her favorite television stars from the Disney Channel, Nataya Coffey said.
“It was an awesome experience for all of us,” Coffey said.
Chloe’s siblings Amia, 8, and William Jr., 16, also received $1,000 shopping sprees through the charity in late February. Amia chose to go to Toys“R”Us, while William chose a spree at Westfield Annapolis mall.
Chloe’s oldest sibling, 19-year-old Jenell Coffey, was not eligible for the wish due to her age, but she said she will receive a wish through an unrelated charity for adults.
Nataya Coffey said she first reached out to Kids Wish Network because she wanted to bring a “different kind of smile” that she could not provide.
Rhonda Erlo, the family’s Kids Wish coordinator, said that having multiple family members have wishes granted is not common but sometimes happens in cases involving hereditary diseases.
The charity has granted 81 wishes to Maryland children since 2001, Erlo said. It granted 300 worldwide in fiscal year 2012, she said.