Photo Credit: Dusty Draper / CMA
The holidays are for making wishes come true and thanks to two Country superstars – Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett – a 14-year-old Tennessee girl received the gift of her dreams during the making of “CMA Country Christmas.”
Hosted for the sixth time by Jennifer Nettles, “CMA Country Christmas” airs Thursday, Dec. 3 (9:00-11:00 PM/ET) on ABC.
“CMA Country Christmas” provides a platform to shine a national spotlight on the ground-breaking work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its lifesaving mission of finding cures and saving children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Kinsee, who has been a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since she was eight years old, was treated to a surprise private performance of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Eldredge and Thomas Rhett, which was taped for the two-hour special.
“Our industry, artists, and Country radio have a strong connection to St. Jude and we are honored to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Kinsee while we also bring important recognition to the Hospital,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer.
When she was eight-years-old, Kinsee became sick while on vacation with her grandparents. After blood work at her pediatrician’s office revealed she had an elevated white cell count but almost no red blood cells or platelets, Kinsee was diagnosed with leukemia. Her pediatrician referred her to St. Jude, where she was diagnosed with early t-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Doctors often send their toughest cases to St. Jude, because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers. Her treatment included chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and radiation therapy. Within several weeks of starting chemotherapy, her cancer was in remission. Kinsee is finished with treatment and her cancer has been in remission for five years. She is now in eighth grade and loves being part of her cheerleading squad, Country Music, and banana popsicles.
“Kinsee’s recovery is something we can all celebrate, because she represents the hope and happy ending we desire for all children – especially during the holidays,” Trahern said.
Taped at the Grand Ole Opry House, “CMA Country Christmas” is a celebration of the season featuring performances from Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton, Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Nettles, Pentatonix, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, Brian Setzer, Michael W. Smith, and Lindsey Stirling.
For information, visit CMAchristmas.com.