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Marlana VanHoose


Marlana VanHoose was born with Cyromeglovirus (CMV) and—by the time she was few weeks old— it was also discovered she was blind as her optic nerve never formed.  She was not expected to live past one year. However, after she turned a year old, her body healed form the virus and that is when everything changed for Marlana. She was humming “Jesus Loves Me” before her first words and by two years old, she taught herself to play the piano. Marlana is a member of the Artist Music Guild where she was the 2012 recipient for New Artist of the Year and Young Artist of the Year.  She also was a 2013 nominee for Artist of the Year. 

In 2012, Marlana sang the National Anthem at a University of Kentucky Women’s Basketball game. This video went viral after being posted on YouTube and Marlana quickly started receiving national attention.  CBS Evening News has aired her story, she sang for the NASCAR Sprint Series Cup Race, at the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, and to open a NBA basketball game for the Brooklyn Nets.  Additional TV appearances include a story aired by ESPN, as well as appearing on the Atlanta Live Gospel Show and Babbie’s House, another gospel series in Atlanta, Georgia.  Marlana has even been commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel. She travels frequently as a Best Buddies Performer. For instance, in the past two years she has attended our Leadership Conference held in July, Hearst Castel and Hyannis Port Challenge Rides plus performing at many of our state events.