The Jimmy Fund Chorus sang the national anthem at the Baltimore Orioles-Boston Red Sox game, but it was 4-year-old Darla Holloway who stole the show in the seventh inning when she sang “God Bless America.”
Holloway is not an ordinary 4-year-old. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia two years ago. Her mother Sherelle thought she had a cold, but the tests said her blood counts were so low her organs would shut down at any time. She wanted a second opinion, but doctors said Darla did not have time. With more tests it was discovered Darla had blood cancer, provided her with a blood transfusion, and transferred her to a children’s hospital. The family worked with Jimmy Fund for Darla’s treatments:
It’s a Boston-based organization that raises funds for adult and pediatric cancer care and research to help support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This year is the 60th anniversary of the Jimmy Fund’s relationship with the Red Sox.
Said Red Sox manager John Farrell: “You recognize that there are certain situations in every family that you’re dealing with some health issue, and to see someone who’s dealing with something that you would think is pretty tragic, to have the wherewithal and the composure to sing a song like that, I’m sure everybody in the ballpark was touched, including everybody in our dugout.”
“It was pretty cool,” second baeman [sic] Dustin Pedroia said of Darla’s seventh-inning rendition. “It was special. Everybody was out there [on the field] and kind of had to take a step back.”
Her mother Sherelle said singing keeps Darla happy.
“It’s songs of happiness,” Sherelle Holloway said in a pregame radio interview with WEEI. “I’m happy, she’s happy now. She likes singing, too. It’s something to take your mind off what’s going on.”
Darla’s cancer is treatable. She stayed in the hospital for two months and then went to outpatient weekly visits. Now a home nurse visits Darla and she visits the hospital once a month. She is a year and four months into a two-year treatment. From MLB:
“There are the treatments now, so I really thank God for that,” Sherelle Holloway said. “It’s bearable. She’s dealing with it. We’re dealing with it, happier now that we know what we have to deal with. … It’s just really overwhelming, but it’s good at the end, because you know it’s going to be a good outcome of her getting better.”