Millions of Americans were in awe Monday evening after hearing Marlana VanHoose take the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to sing the National Anthem:
Here's what you need to know about the 20-year-old Kentucky native:
1. She wasn't expected to make it to her first birthday
VanHoose was born with Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and shortly afterwards she started to go blind. In fact, doctors initially told her parents that she wouldn't survive past her first birthday.
Her website reads:
"But God knew better, He had special plans for Marlana. After Marlana turned a year old her body healed from the virus and that is when it all began.
Marlana was humming “Jesus loves me” before she talked and by the time she was two years old she started playing the piano."
Unfortunately, she was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disease that has a permanent effect on one's body movement, muscle coordination, and balance.
2. Marlana VanHoose first became a household name in the world of sports
Americans first learned of the talented 20-year-old after she sang the National Anthem during a University of Kentucky Basketball game in 2012.
Since then, she has performed at:
- Numerous UK basketball games;
- 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races;
- NCAA women's basketball tournaments; and
- The 2015 NBA Finals.
3. She is a devout Christian
VanHoose is a practicing Christian who turned to Jesus as a child to help her deal with her health issues.
Her website reads:
"Marlana has invited Jesus into her heart and has been baptized. She loves God very much and says she has no need to see here on earth.
She knows that when she gets to Heaven, Jesus will be the first face she’ll see."
4. This is not the first political event where Marlana VanHoose has performed
Many Republicans might remember VanHoose from her stunning rendition of the national anthem at Rand Paul's 2015 presidential announcement:
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, her talent agency is currently in the process of negotiating for her to sing at other political conventions in the future.
Listen to VanHoose sing the “Star Spangled Banner” below:
Stay tuned to IJR.com throughout the course of tonight for the latest on the Republican National Convention.