BOSTON (WPRI) — She brought Red Sox fans to their feet, and tears to their eyes.
It was a 7th inning stretch to remember when Hannah Wertens took the field on Tuesday to sing God Bless America. The Red Sox won, but she stole the show.
And while only 14, there was no intimidation to sing for the 37,340 people in the stands.
“I’ve done a lots of plays before,” she said while practicing the song in her Portsmouth yard. “And although I’ve never done anything this big, I’m pretty confident.”
The neighbors of Hannah Banana – as her mom calls her – are used to hearing her voice. She’s been performing since she could walk.
“I love to sing,” she said with bright smile.
It was also about the time she started to walk, when leukemia struck. And since then, it’s relapsed twice more, most recently last year.
The public address announcer told the crowd that she was battling the blood disease Acute Myloid Leukemia.
But her story, her strength, is in the fight: 90 pills and four shots a day at times, side effects, doctors appointments, setbacks.
“I have bad days and good days,” Wertens said. “I get sick of a lot of the medicine though. And all these doctors and specialists. But I get through it.”
As she fights off a blood disease for the third time, she is also focusing on another goal that would be beyond most teens. She wants to raise funding for research to help other kids and families.
“Because I don’t want anybody else to go through what I had to go through,” she said. “I want to go on tour someday and perform my own songs and go on stage, and maybe even sing on New Year’s Eve.”
She smiles at her dream.
“No matter what you’re going through, you can accomplish your dreams and you can do whatever you want,” she said. “You just have to work hard and you can do anything.”
As the Fenway crowd erupted in cheers and more than a few tears at the end of her performance, they had to have noticed her strength.
So stay tuned for what aspiring singer and actress she expects will be a foundation to be, in her very adult words, a resource for families.