Devoted Pa. fan to meet Gloria Estefan backstage in N.Y.

April 22, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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Estefan fanDevoted Pa. fan to meet Gloria Estefan backstage in N.Y.

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - It's not hard to tell who Glenn Cermak's favorite singer is.

Posters and photographs, and covers to CDs, cassettes and magazines about Gloria Estefan are spread around his room like wallpaper. He buys and trades them with Estefan fans around the world over the Internet.

Cermak's computer screen displays a Web site about Estefan that he created. He's researched her life, written her biography and discography and lists her future appearances.


Using a special computer program, he's translating his work into Spanish in honor of the singer's Cuban heritage.

"I'm also taking Spanish in school," he said.

"His friends say he's obsessed," said his mother, Sandra Cermak.

"I'm way past obsessed," Glenn said.

On Thursday, the 15-year-old Waynesboro Area Senior High School freshman will meet Estefan backstage before "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" in New York. Estefan is scheduled to be a guest on the show.

The whole family has tickets to the show, including his father, Michael Cermak, and brother, Michael, 17.

Sandra Cermak sent e-mail and regular letters to Estefan's headquarters in Miami asking for a meeting between the singer and her son. A staff member called last week and said it could be arranged in New York.

"Every kid deserves to meet their idol," Sandra Cermak said.

The show will be taped Thursday and air at 3 p.m. Friday on NBC.

Glenn and Michael Cermak suffer from Stickler's syndrome, an incurable, progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the body's connective tissue, Sandra Cermak said. It can affect the eyes, ears, heart and joints, she said.

Glenn has had a number of operations to reattach retinas, she said.

Michael was nearly blinded by the disease last year, but has since recovered.

The brothers have become computer whizzes. Michael recently was featured in Money magazine and other national publications for setting up a Web site that offers free advice for computer problems. He sometimes gets more than 100 questions a day via e-mail.

Sandra Cermak learned after setting up the meeting with Estefan that Glenn had written an essay for school in which students were asked to write about what they wanted to see if they had one hour of sight left. He wrote that he would want to see Estefan.

Glenn got hooked on Estefan when he heard her sing the closing song at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

His favorite Estefan song is "There's Always Tomorrow."

"It's my theme song," Glenn said. "The lyrics go, 'There's always tomorrow to start over again. Things will never stay the same.'"

What will he to say to Estefan when he meets her? "I don't know," said Glenn. "It really hasn't kicked in that I'm going to see her."

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