Mallory Kate Hall, of Cumming, Georgia, was just 10 days old when a virus attacked her heart and left her with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that permanently weakens and enlarged her heart, according to her mom, Jessica Hall.
In October 2014, at the age of 2, Mallory Kate was added to the heart transplant list and admitted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she lived full-time for two months while her parents, Jessica and husband Dustin Hall, alternated staying with her and at home with their other daughter, 6-year-old Madison.
While the family coped with Mallory Kate’s illness, all four of them found a connection to the song “Compass” by Lady Antebellum. The song’s refrain includes the lyrics, “So let your heart, sweet heart…Be your compass when you're lost.”
"It was kind of the first song that our kids knew the words to and sang,” Jessica Hall told ABC News. "Always in the hospital we listened to it, and that’s what Mallory always asked to hear.”
The Halls also used the song as inspiration for the Facebook page and t-shirts they made to support Mallory Kate, "Follow Your Heart."
The family also relied on the song for hope as they learned last December that Mallory Kate had been matched with a donor heart, and, that same month, underwent a nearly nine-hour transplant surgery. The heart, from an anonymous donor, has been a perfect fit for Mallory Kate, according to her mom.
"When we woke up the next morning, her breathing tube was out and she was up eating crackers. It was unbelievable,” Hall said of her daughter’s recovery.
Mallory Kate was back home five days after the surgery and quickly back to her normal self, singing and dancing along with her sister. When the hospital found out that Lady Antebellum was coming to Atlanta for a concert this month, Hall says they encouraged the family to make a video of Mallory Kate and Madison singing their favorite song.
Thanks to the support of local media, the video found its way to Lady Antebellum’s team, who invited the Hall family to the band’s concert Saturday night at Aaron’s Amphitheatre, an outdoor venue with space for nearly 20,000.
“A local company arranged for a limousine to take us and we got to go to an acoustic show with about 100 people and a meet-and-greet with the band before the show,” Hall said. “Mallory walked right up to them and the first thing she said was, ‘Can I come up on the stage and sing with you?’”
“They said, ‘Yes,’” Hall recalled.
Mallory Kate and Madison joined the band onstage for their nearly five-minute performance of “Compass,” with special guest Hunter Hayes accompanying on guitar.
“Normally Mallory is the outspoken one and Madison is shy but it was actually Mallory who was a little bit more afraid and Madison was up there no problem,” Hall said. “Mallory said later she was scared of the microphone and wants to do it again because she won’t be scared.”
Hall told ABC News the band has also told her family they plan to donate a portion of the proceeds from the concert’s ticket sales to a fund that was created by the Hall’s family and friends to help cover Mallory’s medical expenses.
“It’s just amazing,” Hall said. “People have just rallied behind her to get the transplant and then rallied behind her again to get this wish."