A three-year-old from Liberty, Kentucky with a rare form of dwarfism is not only beating the medical odds stacked against her, but is also becoming an Internet singing sensation.
According to a report by Good Morning America, Grace Anna Rodgers was born with Conradi-Hunermann, which means she is physically short, and her legs are uneven in length. Doctors originally predicted she would be deaf and that her scoliosis would impair her lung function.
Now, three years later, Grace is a singing star. Although she cannot walk, Grace has managed to overcome several obstacles in her young life.
Grace's rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” has become a YouTube sensation. The video has been seen by nearly 350,000 people around the world.
Mother, Angie Rodgers, said she'd had three miscarriages before Grace was born and expected she would lose her, too. When Rodgers was three months pregnant, doctors noticed signs of dwarfism.
“Doctors tried to get us to abort her over five different times,” said Rodgers. “It never was an option for us.”
Grace almost died in 2012 after complicated surgery to fuse her malformed spine when her lungs nearly collapsed.
“There was something like shelving in her throat, and they couldn't even get a tube in her windpipe,” said Rodgers.”
She was in the hospital for 22 days and in a body cast for six months. It was during this time Grace starting singing.
Rodgers said Grace could sing before she even began to talk.
“I would lay her head in my lap in bed and sing with her and she would play with my hair,” Rodgers recalled. “It seemed like she was bound and determined to sing and do nothing else.
For someone who failed a hearing test, she sings well.”
Since then, Grace has had four eye surgeries for cataracts and glaucoma. Now, with her glasses, she can accurately read an eye chart.
“Just because she has a disability doesn't mean she can't dream big. She is very smart and just because she is very small doesn't mean she doesn't have a purpose.”
Angie Rodgers has been asked to have Grace sing at a veterans benefit in Kansas and another event in Virginia. On top of those events, Rodgers said there is an even bigger project to come that she can't yet discuss.
“Yesterday I got a call from a doctor who said he thought it would be hard for her walk,” said Rodgers, a middle-school science teacher. “I was told she would never hear very well. I have been told so many things that have proven to be wrong, so I take it with a grain of salt,” said Rodgers.
*Good Morning America contributed to this report.