For more than a year, 9-year-old Danae Kirklen has been in the fight of her life.
Danae of Lansing, Michigan, was diagnosed 18 months ago with a rare form of leukemia. She has been in and out of the hospital for the past 18 months.
“One time I had to be in there for a whole year ... And I never got to get out. So that’s been hard,” Danae told ABC News.
The girl’s mother, Belinda Kirklen, said her daughter is now much older than her years.
“I feel like … she's already in her late 20s, because she's experienced so much pain,” Kirklen said.
Despite her challenges, Danae perseveres. She gains strength from music, especially the music of pop star Ariana Grande, whose hits include “Love Me Harder” and “Break Free.”
“I always want to listen to Ariana Grande because it helped me calm down … and not worry as much as I could,” Danae said.
Just a few days later, Danae was in New York City. She traveled in a stretch limousine to Macy’s Herald Square, where she received a makeover and a new outfit.
She went to a concert and was in the front row to see Grande sing the songs she loves so much. Then, she had a private meeting with Grande. The moment was everything the girl had hoped it would be.
“You're so strong. And so beautiful. And so cute!” Grande told the girl.
“Thank you,” Danae replied.