Singer Ed Sheeran Surprises 9-Year-Old Super Fan Battling Terminal Illness: 'She's Still on Cloud Nine'
Last week, that dream came true.
Sheeran visited her in hospital, where he serenaded her with her favorite song, "Photograph."
It was a sweet moment for Melody, who was diagnosed with Rett syndrome at 16 months old. Doctors didn't think the little girl fro southeast England would live past 4 years old.
According to her mom, Katrina Driscoll, Melody was developing like any other tot in her first several months, then started losing the ability to walk and speak.
"She went back to acting like a baby," Driscoll said.
But, Melody also suffers from an undiagnosed condition that causes her entire body to flare up in sores and internal bleeding. For her chronic pain, Melody has a 24-hour IV of various pain killers.
Despite having trouble communicating, Melody understands everything happening around her — especially when someone puts on an Ed Sheeran song.
"She thinks he's her prince charming," her mom said, laughing.
Driscoll explained that several years ago, Melody was lying on the couch, sick at home, when the musician's hit single "Thinking Out Loud" came on TV.
"She started smiling and giggling at the TV, and she's never had that sort of reaction before," Driscoll said. "When the next song came on, the same reaction happened."
Since then, Sheeran, whom Melody calls her boyfriend, has been the key to getting her through treatment: "When she's in pain, we put Ed Sheeran on. He pulls her through that pain. He makes her fight for it."
So, Melody's mom and their community started using their resources to help her meet her idol. Since Melody's condition deteriorates with age, they were determined to help her dreams come true.
Their initial efforts were unsuccessful, and ended in Sheeran's manager offering free concert tickets for the next time the musician was in town.
"Due to her health, we had to decline," her mom said. "We just couldn't get her there."
As they started losing hope, Driscoll said a local police officer decided to lend his support to the cause, and started talking to people he knew in order to make it happen.
Sheeran's manager soon reached out again, and agreed to send the musician to Melody's hospital room.
That Wednesday, "He walked in on his own, no management, no security, no cameras, no press. You could clearly see it wasn't about publicity for him, it was about Melody."
Melody was in disbelief. Her mom said initially, she didn't believe the man standing in front of him was her idol, until she checked the tattoo on his arm. Then, the nonverbal girl even tried to talk to him.
"A lot of people look at Melody and treat her like a baby, but he saw right through that," Driscoll said.
She said Sheeran spent about an hour and a half with her superfan daughter, and even sang Melody's favorite song, "Photograph," on her tiny pink guitar since he didn't bring his own.
"She started dancing and singing and smiling and giggling," Driscoll said. "He's keeping our daughter alive, but in his eyes, you could tell he was the one honored to meet Melody."
Following the visit, Driscoll said Melody's condition took a turn for the worse but the visit still has her spirits high.
"Whenever anyone mentions Ed, her whole face lights up. She sits up, she dances, she starts tapping on the phone because she wants to see the video of her and Ed and make sure it wasn't a dream," Driscoll said. "She's still on cloud nine."