When a person has true talent, it always shines through. One singer, in particular, has overcome many obstacles to get to where she is now. Her voice will blow you away, but her story will melt your heart.
Maddie Zahm grew up in Boise, Idaho, and she was extremely involved in school activities. Maddie was like a ray of sunshine, always smiling and encouraging others. Unfortunately, this girl hit some difficulties that completely changed her state of mind.
During her senior year of high school, Maddie was diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance known as PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.”
This diagnosis alone would have been difficult enough, but for Maddie, it also came with some unwanted side effects. She began rapidly gaining weight – in fact, she gained 100 pounds in one year.
The situation was devastating for Maddie. She lost her confidence and her friends. “I even lost music there for a while,” the singer admitted on American Idol.
Gaining weight is hard on anyone, but most especially when there is not much you can do about it. Maddie felt that she was losing control over her life. “I felt like I couldn’t perform because I was just so embarrassed of who I was,” she shared.
Just when her life looked the bleakest, something unexpected happened. Maddie accidentally wandered into a music class for students with disabilities, and it turned out to be the luckiest mistake of her life.
It was then that she saw Marcus, a student with Down Syndrome who was singing to Katy Perry. She was immediately drawn to him, and she knew that they were meant to be in each other’s lives.
“That was the best mistake I ever made because there was just this incredible human being just standing up, singing a Katy Perry song, and I just knew that he was someone that I needed to meet,” Maddie said. “I could sense that he could use a friend, too.”
The two got to know each other more, and they instantly became best friends. Marcus even accompanied Maddie to her American Idol audition. It meant so much to her to have the support of her best friend.
When Maddie mentioned to the judges that Marcus was there to support her, the judges just had to bring him into the room. They had him sit at the judges’ panel with them, and they all watched together as the singer took the stage.
Maddie sang and played her guitar to “New Rules” by Dua Lipa. She was phenomenal! None of the judges could hide how astounded they were at this singer’s magnificent voice. When it was all over, they insisted on an encore.
The next song, however, didn’t come from Maddie alone. She and Marcus performed a duet of their favorite Katy Perry song, “Firework.”
And with that, Maddie was on her way to Hollywood. This singer had been through so much, and she was finally one step closer to realizing her dreams.
The friendship shared between Maddie and Marcus is beyond heartwarming. It seems an act of fate that the two met in that music class so long ago. Maddie’s story is proof that when you leave love in your heart, you can accomplish anything.
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