Watch Keith Urban Serenade Gravely Ill Fan and Totally Lift Her Spirits
Keith Urban's biggest fan was unable to make it to his concert because of her declining health, so the superstar took the show to her. The music was healing.
Urban performed in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday night (Oct. 18), and while he was in town, he got wind of a social media campaign set up by some nurses at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center, where 25-year-old Marissa English is a patient.
English was born with a wide range of health conditions that include hydrocephalus, an inoperable cyst on her brain, cerebral palsy and severe scoliosis, her sister, Madison Rowe, and her mother, Marlise Matthews, tell Taste of Country.
"She has been in the hospital for quite some time, fighting probably the hardest battle she’s ever fought in her life, just to keep going," Rowe says. English is not in hospice, but the family is pursuing comfort care.
Knowing the young woman wouldn't be able to use her ticket to go see Urban — the man she calls "Mr. Hottie" — hospital staff got to work with a social media campaign. They kept the plan from English, so when Urban walked in, the shock was real.
"She’s got a picture that’s right by her bed," Rowe says, referring to a picture of the country superstar. "She started looking at the picture and then she looked back at him and she looked at the picture and was like, ‘Oh my God. Keith is here!'"
English is a lifetime fan of country music. It helps keep her calm and feeling good, and if she's not listening, she's watching it on television or online. After placing a phone call to the girls' 9-year-old brother (who also has special needs, but couldn't be there), Urban stuck around for nearly an hour.
"Her favorite song is ‘Blue Ain’t Your Color’ and (he said), ‘Well, we gotta sing it,'" Rowe recalls of Thursday's visit. "I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the room or the hallway or the hospital."
No one knows how long they have left with English. When she was born, doctors gave her a year, but she's been fighting for more than two decades. Her health had been rapidly declining recently, according to WTOL-TV in Toledo. Urban's visit had a very real impact on her, her sister says.
“The day before yesterday, my husband and I went up to see her. It was probably the hardest time I have ever had being with her," Rowe shares. "She was in so much pain, she was just shaking. Every vein in her arm you could see because she was so tense. She kept telling everybody she was in pain and she didn’t feel good."
“I’ll be damned if yesterday he didn’t walk in and her whole face lit up," she continues. "Her heart rate the day before had been skyrocketing ... And her heart rate was so calm and easy the whole time he was there. She lit up and talked more than we have seen her talk. She sang with him. He could hear her trying to sing, even though she was on a ventilator. It was night and day from the day before when had seen her."
English's family and friends who did attend Urban's concert were upgraded, and the "Never Comin' Down" singer even dedicated the entire show to Marissa, calling her his "biggest fan."
See More of Keith Urban's Most Special Moments
See more from Urban's special visit in the pictures below.
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