‘God gave me the gift of music’: Marlana VanHoose wins East Kentucky Leadership Award

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Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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DENVER, Ky. (WYMT) - Marlana VanHoose was born blind. With other health complications, including a serious virus, her family was told she would likely not make it to her first birthday. That was 26 years ago.

“God healed my body from the virus,” she said.

VanHoose beat the odds, taking her chance at life and lack of vision as a sign to follow the vision God has for her.

“God gave me the gift of music,” she said. “I started humming “Jesus Loves Me” as a baby, before I could speak.”

That passion, born from old church songs, soon blossomed into a devotion. Using the abilities she was given, the Johnson County woman is now hitting the high notes and raising her praising hands high, following a dream she always prayed would come true.

A viral video in 2012 kicked off a career that VanHoose says she is blessed to now have- traveling from state to state, stage to stage, singing the National Anthem for some of her favorite sports teams.

”It was a blessing. So, I sang the anthem at the UK girls basketball game in 2012; the video went viral. Since then, I’ve been traveling all across the United States, singing. It’s been a blessing,” she said.

Now, with special jerseys and singing jobs galore, she works to share her testimony with others.

“I have been through lots and lots of things in life and God is still taking care of me. He’s still using me for His glory,” she said. ”And God has given me that ability to share with others the gift of music. It’s a universal language.”

For her determination and dedication to sharing and singing through it all, Marlana was awarded the 2022 East Kentucky Leadership Award for Culture and Arts, given Thursday during the East Kentucky Leadership Conference.

She said it was an honor to even be considered and she hopes to use her platform to show other young people that no matter their hurdles, they can always reach their goals.

”I never want to give up. I just want to keep going,” she said. ”I could become a true leader to those in this state and to those around the world as well.”

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