Imagine Dragons grants wish to teen facing terminal illness

Posted at 10:18 PM, Oct 24, 2013

WEST HAVEN, Utah -- It's a dream come true for a West Haven teen facing a life-threatening illness; she is going to the Imagine Dragons concert Friday night to meet her favorite band.

The rock-pop band is performing at Weber State University, and the rock stars have a big surprise for her.

The band has heard about this teen, who is facing life with a terminal disease. They were so moved that they reached out to her and invited her not just to the show, but to meet them. So on Friday night, she will be backstage meeting her heroes.

Kennedy Hansen, 15, loves her sister and her cousin Shantz Hansen. Shantz introduced her to her most favorite band ever: Imagine Dragons.

“The first time I showed her the song, she was kind of dancing and stuff,” Shantz said. “Second time, she showed it to me and she sang every single word to it. Which I thought was cool, she can sing it clearly.”

Kennedy has juvenile battens disease; a condition that is literally robbing her of her life.

“Basically her brain is dying right now, so it affects all of her organs in her system,” said Kennedy’s mother, Heather Hansen. “She’s already lost most of her eyesight, and she’ll be wheelchair bound pretty soon.”

As heartbreaking as that may sound, Heather gets a sparkle in her eye when she watches her little girl singing along with the music and sees the joy the music makes her feel.

“When she listens to the music she’s able to speak clearly and express herself, word for word, you can understand,” Hansen said. “When she`s talking, it’s very difficult to understand what she’s trying to say.”

Kennedy's aunt helped put the members of Imagine Dragons in touch with her. The band saw a video of her singing and was clearly moved. They arranged for Weber State University to send her tickets to the show and some T-shirts.

Kennedy was ecstatic when she heard the news. Her family said she let out a nice loud, “Woo hoo!” Kennedy is almost completely blind and has a hard time expressing herself verbally, but when you talk about her favorite band, something magical happens.

We asked her what she was most looking forward to, like any typical teenager she answered, “Boys, boys, boys!”

It's the first concert she'll ever go to. And her family knows it's likely her last. A memory they'll cherish forever.

That concert is Friday night. The band's manager has told us she will get to meet the band tomorrow night. Juvenile battens disease is very rare. So rare, Kennedy is one of only 100 children in the world that have this terminal disease.