Karinya Chen is a teenage girl from Austin, Texas, who has been hospitalized since February due to a paraganglioma – a type of cancer that affects the nervous system cells. The only thing she really wanted to do was go to the concert of her favorite band, Florence and the Machine. When she was told she was too sick to attend the concert, she was very disappointed and certainly didn’t expect the surprise that followed. Florence Welch herself visited the hospital to comfort the girl and sing to her.
The 15-year-old asked repeatedly for doctors and nurses at the Hospice Austin’s Christopher House to allow her to go the concert, and she was heartbroken when told her poor health wouldn’t enable her to go. “All week, through setback after setback, she asked if she would be able to go. We tried to entertain the idea and it felt so scary and overwhelming for the medical staff and her mother that finally I said no, and my heart broke again,” wrote the nurse Christie Kremer in her post on Facebook.
While Karinya did not attend the show on Thursday night, she gained a private concert as the vocalist Florence Welch and guitarist Rob Ackroyd visited her at the hospital. The star sang with the teenager a few songs, while Karinya and her family were overjoyed by the gesture. “I was very grateful that they could be so generous and kind to take time out and spend it with my daughter,” Karinya’s mother, Cat Shiang Chen, told TODAY. “I was floored, thankful and very impressed by their act of benevolence.”
The visit had a great impact on the high school sophomore, who has been hospitalized since February and had last seen the band live in 2011. “Our patient went from not feeling well and being very lethargic to sitting up, talking, laughing, knitting — a different person entirely. Florence came and it was really, really magical. She was 100 percent there,” added Melinda Marble, communications coordinator of Hospice Austin.
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