Grace almost died in 2012 after complicated surgery to fuse her malformed spine when her lungs nearly collapsed. “There was something like shelving in her throat and they couldn’t even get a tube in her windpipe," said Rodgers.”
She was in the hospital for 22 days and in a body cast for six months. But it was then, at about 16 months, that the little girl picked up a knack for singing.
“I would lay her head in my lap in bed and sing with her and she would play with my hair,” said Rodgers. “It seemed like she was bound and determined to sing and do nothing else.
“For someone who failed a hearing test, she sings well,” she said. “Summer rolled around and she was singing the whole first verse of ‘Amazing Grace’ – loud and proud. You know the line: 'I was blind, but now can see.’”
Since then, Grace has had four eye surgeries for cataracts and glaucoma. Now, with her glasses, she can accurately read an eye chart.
“Her doctor is amazed by her – she’s a pistol,” said Rodgers, who wants the same life for her daughter as her teenage son enjoys. “Hopefully, she will have a relationship with God, which is a priority in our family, and some type of vocation she loves to do.”
“I don’t want her to think she can’t be successful in life,” she said. “Just because she has a disability, doesn’t mean she can’t dream big. She is very smart and just because she is very small, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a purpose.”