Local teen battling cancer visits 'American Idol' - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Local teen battling cancer visits 'American Idol'

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ATLANTA -

A Sandy Springs teen year old known for her big heart took the trip of a lifetime to the set of her favorite show, "American Idol."

Last week, 16-year-old Summer Dale took a break from chemotherapy to fly out to Hollywood.

Dale has been hooked on "American Idol" since she was a little girl. She's watched it every year, been to a local "Idol" concert – even carved 2008 finalist David Archuleta's name in the cement outside her home.

Before leaving for Los Angeles, Dale had to get through one last round of chemotherapy at the AFLAC Cancer Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta,

The Riverwood High School sophomore and twin is headed to "American Idol" after the hardest six months of her life, battling bone cancer.

"There have been the lowest lows, you can ever have, as cancer patient, as parent, a lot of sadness. And fear. And to see her so happy and so excited, just means the world to me," said her mother, Lynne Dale.

To understand what Summer got, it's good to know what she gives. In the middle of battling cancer, she created "Team Summer," selling $5 bracelets to buy gifts for other kids facing their own battles.

Team Summer bought a LeapFrog for 2-year old Josiah and a laptop for 12-year-old Antonio to help them get through treatment.

"It's just amazing. There is no other feeling to top it. It's just -- it's just what I was meant to do," Summer Dale said.

Summer's former babysitter Donna Hoffman Morgan, a friend of her mother Lynne, got the idea to find a way to send her to her favorite show after she heard the news.

"I remember the day when she called me and said Summer had been diagnosed with cancer, my heart just broke," said Morgan.

After a five hour flight with free first class tickets from Delta, Summer arrived in Los Angeles last week. She also had VIP Idol tickets, her own escort and a chance to hang out with judge Steven Tyler.

"He just picks up a walnut and sticks it right in my mouth. And he acts like it's totally normal to stick a walnut in someone's mouth. Some bald chic he doesn't even know," said Summer. "He was like, ‘Let's take a picture, let's take a picture. Stick your tongue out!'"


She's got a phone full of pictures with Randy Jackson and spent some time in the makeup room with Georgia's own, Phillip Phillips.

"He's so cute! Everyone is in love with him," said Dale.

Including, perhaps, her own mother.

"I think he is adorable! And I think he is perfect for my daughter, but don't tell her that," said Lynn Dale.

Summer also met Holly, Joshua, Jessica and Skylar.

"You'd think it would go to their head, and they'd be like, ‘Oh, I'm a star.' But they're just so genuine and nice. Like they would be my friends,' said Dale. "It was really cool to see that."

Even cooler? Experiencing ‘Idol' for herself.

"It was amazing. It was a dream come true," she said.

Summer says she thinks Phillip Phillips will win it all this year, but, she says, her favorite idol finalist is Skylar.

She's now back home in Atlanta and getting ready to start chemotherapy again. She says her "American Idol" experience was better than she even imagined.

To find out more about the kids touched by Team Summer, go to http://teamsummer.org.

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