For 11-year-old brain-injury survivor Zumyah Thorpe, months of personal tragedy and physical hardship got a shot of happiness Saturday with an “amazing” serenade from pop superstar Bruno Mars, who called the little girl “an inspiration to the world.”
Thorpe’s mother and two younger sisters were killed last March when a drunk driver in a pickup truck slammed into the family’s Volkswagen Jetta. Thorpe suffered a traumatic head injury with brain swelling so severe that surgeons had to remove a portion of the girl’s skull.
The accident left Thorpe with significant impairments to her motor and language skills. But her medical team discovered she still was able to sing the tunes of Bruno Mars, her favorite recording artist.
Seeing how powerfully Thorpe responded to Mars’ music, Thorpe’s doctors “prescribed” a daily dose and now credit the tunes with the girl's continued recuperation.
"I am absolutely convinced that her learning to sing and singing those Bruno Mars songs and being able to say 'Bruno Mars' is in itself a miracle for her," Nancy Bass, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at Cleveland's UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, told WKYC. "Knowing all the words to the songs has helped her recover and helped her to learn to actually have language."
When Mars heard of Thorpe’s incredible survival story through social media, he arranged a private meeting with the girl and her family, performing four songs and gifting Thorpe a teddy bear. Thorpe also attended Mars’ Cleveland concert Saturday night, where Mars serenaded her with “Just the Way You Are.”
Check out the moving video below — and make sure you have a box of tissues handy.