Country Cares (and Brad Paisley) Gave Former St. Jude Patient Addie Pratt an Opportunity of a Lifetime
In early 2016, Addie Pratt was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The Mississippi teenager was referred to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., sought treatment -- and beat cancer.
Pratt underwent a successful round of chemotherapy for her diagnosis, and was able to return home in July, just a few months after arriving at St. Jude. However, she made a lifelong connection to the hospital, and a famous friend, to boot.
In late 2019, country star Brad Paisley invited Pratt to add guest vocals to a new song, "Alive Right Now," and perform it with him on his Brad Paisley Thinks He's Special TV variety show special. The two met at a Country Cares for St. Jude Kids seminar -- an annual event during which country radio programmers and industry members gather in Memphis to learn more about St. Jude's work and kick off fundraising efforts for the year -- and bonded over their mutual love of songwriting and playing guitar.
"Songwriting has always just kind of been a way that I cope with all of the crazy thoughts just spiraling around in my head, and it's just kind of been a way to get those thoughts out," Pratt told The Boot during the 2020 Country Cares seminar in mid-January. The year she met Paisley at Country Cares, she also performed one of her own original songs during the event.
"That night was incredible in and of itself, but I never knew that it would turn into this huge, amazing blessing, so it's crazy," Pratt adds with a laugh.
Pratt, now 18, hopped onstage during this year's Country Cares event, too, surprising the crowd by singing "Alive Right Now" with Paisley during the weekend's closing songwriters' dinner and performance. Four years after her AML diagnosis, she's now in college and a member of the Tri Delta sorority.
"It means the world to me to be here," Pratt admitted on the red carpet earlier in the weekend. "I'm honestly just so thankful that everybody's here tonight."
As for her aspirations of musical stardom? Pratt says she's "just taking it one day at a time, really."
"I would love to do music, and, you know, if an opportunity comes, then I'll probably take it," she says, "but for now, I'm just gonna work hard and study hard and take it one day at a time."
On Feb. 6-7, more than a dozen country radio stations owned by Townsquare Media, The Boot's parent company, will hold their 2020 Country Cares radiothons to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In the past six years, these stations have raised more than $9.2 million, and even more money has come from additional TSM stations that hold radiothons later in the year. To join the fight against childhood cancer and become a Partner in Hope, visit St. Jude's official website.
LOOK: St. Jude Country Cares Weekend in Memphis, Tenn.