Sometimes, the most beautiful sounds come from the most unexpected places.
And on this December afternoon, they’re coming from the mouth of a spunky, confident teenager in a recording booth.
This is 16-year-old Kennedy Garland, and she’s recording an original song with Texas country musician Sonny Burgess.
She’s not part of a band, and she’s not in Nashville. She’s at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth in their recording studio.
“From the very first time I walked in here, I was like—woo!” Kennedy says. “There’s stuff everywhere, and there’s music, and I’m like—I want to play on this!”
It’s a place to hone her talents while doctors hone in on something else.
“I was diagnosed in 2010 I believe with a basilar tip aneurysm. So, it's my little sparkle bubble in the back of my brain,” Kennedy explains.
“It’s not operable,” says her mother, Tammie. “We can't fix it right now. It's in a really weird place and a really weird shape.”
She tells us if it were to rupture, fatality is 97 percent. That is not Kennedy’s focus, even when she comes for treatment.
“There’s nothing she can't do,” her mother says.
Her focus is making music. “We want to make it special for them,” says Sonny Burgess, who now runs the music program at Cook Children’s. He says he’s met so many talented kids who record music while staying at the hospital. It’s therapeutic for them.
“And then you’ve got Kennedy,” Burgess says. “She is an angel. And she's been through a lot and her family's been through a lot.”
That’s where the lyrics to her original song “Be Thankful” come in. She wrote the song with Burgess on a recent trip to Cook Children’s.
“We all have angels watching over us, I can't explain what that does,” the lyrics say. “In times of trouble, we are never alone. With them, we always feel at home.”
She’s singing about her brother Cameron, who was also a patient at Cook Children’s. Cameron died after a short battle with cancer. He was just 17.
“I thought I just needed to add that in there about—he's always watching over us,” Kennedy says, telling us there’s always something to be thankful for.
“I cried. I'll probably cry every time I hear it for a while,” her mother says of the song.
They are tears of pride, too—for nothing sounds as sweet as this songbird’s soul.
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