Three-year-old Grace Anna Rodgers’s rendition of the national anthem is going viral, for good reason. Watching the toddler enthusiastically belt “The Star-Spangled Banner” is enough to make anyone smile, but it’s the story behind this clip that makes it especially moving.
Grace’s mother, Angie Rodgers of Liberty, Ky., was told by doctors during her pregnancy that her child would be “different,” according to TODAY Moms. Grace was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Conradi Hunermann Syndrome. This disorder causes skeletal malformations, skin issues, cataracts and stunted growth.
Since Grace’s birth, Rodgers and her husband, Jeff, have worked to give their daughter a normal, loving life. Amid Grace’s numerous surgeries, including a spinal fusion, one activity that has helped the Rodgers family stay optimistic is singing. Angie has sung to her daughter from day one, and during hospital visits when Grace couldn’t be held by her own mother, Rodgers’s voice provided comfort.
Grace began singing herself after a year and a half. When Grace turned her mom’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” into a duet, Angie decided to film the moment and post it online. While Rodgers hoped the video would entertain family and friends, she never expected the clip to go viral and lead to personal responses from thousands of strangers.
We have been to the point of tears several days reading emails, Facebook posts, YouTube posts on how our little girl has inspired people, Rodgers told TODAY Moms in an email. There have been sick people, people with disabled children, people down on their luck, heartbroken people reach out to us and express their love for our daughter. As a parent, it just gives you hope that our little Grace can make a difference no matter her disability.
Rodgers said the outpouring has felt like “a big hug from the world” after several challenging years. Keep the love going and watch Grace’s heartwarming performance below.