Keith Urban performed in front of thousands of fans at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, Thursday night, but the brightest moment of this tour stop came hours earlier inside the nearby Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center.
Urban took pause from his rehearsals Thursday to visit his biggest fan, Marissa English, a 25-year-old country music lover struggling with a range of debilitating health conditions, including hydrocephalus, an inoperable cyst on her brain, cerebral palsy and severe scoliosis.
English wanted nothing more than to see Urban perform live, according to her mom, Marlise Matthews, and sister, Madison Rowe, but when her already declining state worsened, English couldn’t move from her bed, let alone go to a concert.
But some very special caretakers couldn’t bear to see English be let down.
“A few nurses made it their mission to make her dream come true,” Matthews told TODAY. “They started a social media blitz that just took off like crazy to get Keith’s attention.”
The media campaign worked, and after a bit of organizing, Urban arrived at English’s hospital room.
“The visit was truly amazing,” Matthews told TODAY. “Keith was so compassionate with her. He held her hand while he talked to her and sang to her.”
Urban serenaded English with her favorite song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and kissed his biggest fan on the cheek.
“She calmed down so much while he was here,” Matthews said. “Her heart rate dropped a lot, and her blood pressure was the best that it had been in days.”
English has been in the hospital for 17 days fighting for her life, according to Rowe, English's sister.
After nearly an hour with English, Urban asked her family and her pediatric ICU nurse to come to the concert that night.
Before the show began, Urban acknowledged his special guests and dedicated the entire show to his “biggest fan, Marissa,” according to Matthews.
“It was so emotional,” Matthews recalled. “The whole venue broke out in applause. … A lot of tears from everyone there.”
Back at St. Vincent's, English listened to Urban’s music and looked at her many photos with her favorite singer.
As she continues to fight through pain and hardship, her family sees each next day as a blessing.
“The entire time he was there, it was like she was almost back to her old self,” Rowe told TODAY. “Her entire face lit up, and she wanted to talk and sing and smile. For Marissa, this was a wish of a lifetime come true.”