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Blake Lewis with Kristi Redman/Courtesy photo

Idol's Blake Turns Fan Craze Into Charitable Contributions

For American Idol contestant Blake Lewis, the show is not just about making music and showcasing his talents to a captive audience – it’s also about giving back.

The 25-year-old resident of Bothell, Washington, has called upon childhood pal Kristi Redman, 25, to head up his campaign of giving, which ties into his newly created fan group, The Blaker Girls.

Anxious to do something positive with his newfound celebrity, Lewis decided to translate his fan support into dollars to benefit cancer research initiatives at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

According to Redman, Lewis chose to put his support behind this organization after two friends, Brad and Heather, who happen to also date, were diagnosed with lymphoma within months of each other. One of them currently receives treatment at the Seattle hospital.

“We came up with the idea for the fan group and merchandise and thought there’s got to be something we can do to give back. We don’t need all this for ourselves and Blake doesn’t need it,” Redman explains. “Blake immediately wanted to give to cancer research at Children’s Hospital. Brad went to high school with us and we’ve all gotten close with his girlfriend Heather,” she says, adding that both are expected to make a full and complete recovery.

For the local community and the hospital benefiting from Lewis’ act of charity, Redman says it is quite a thrill. “[Children’s] is really happy to see someone who’s local and now famous using his celebrity for a good cause,” she said. Should Lewis advance to the top three, he will be rewarded with a visit to his hometown with Idol cameras in tow – a visit Redman is eagerly anticipating. “I know he wants to visit the hospital as soon as possible. I’ve got to figure out with him what his schedule is,” she explains. “That is definitely something that would be great for him to do.”

In the meantime, Redman continues to man BlakerGirls.com, Lewis’ official online presence, as well as a MySpace page where fans can leave messages of support and donate to the cause. Merchandise created by Redman and the Blaker Girls team is available through an outside retailer, and comes emblazoned with the phrase “Blaker Girl” or “Blaker Boy.”

Having already raised more than $2500 for Children’s Hospital, Redman is hopeful that Lewis’ celebrity status will continue to serve a philanthropic purpose regardless of his duration on Idol.

“His days are long, he doesn’t get enough sleep, but reacting and interacting with the fans is so important to him,” Redman says of her hard-working pal. “He appreciates the votes and says he can spend two seconds writing an autograph. Doing the show is such a thrill for him.”

For more information on The Blaker Girls and Lewis’ charitable efforts, visit the Blaker Girls on MySpace.

--Allison Corneau

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