MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — A Monticello boy’s dream came true on Friday night when he met his idol: country music star Keith Urban.
Kellen Hammock has loved music his entire life and was introduced to the country star two years ago through his music. But Kellen’s young life has also included many hardships.
At birth, Kellen was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a non-life-threatening condition that resulted in a hole in his skull. He underwent double brain surgery at eight days old.
Kellen then spent a total of six and a half weeks in the NICU where his parents were told he wouldn’t be able to walk, talk or even lift his head. He didn’t walk or talk until he was three years old.
He has undergone 10 surgeries in 6 years, the last surgery being a cornea transplant that required Kellen to wear protective goggles 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only way his parents could get Kellen to wear the goggles was by showing him a picture of Urban in glasses.
Now, Kellen has no problem wearing goggles.
His love for Urban has resulted in 13 guitars and two banjos. He spends his days listening to Urban’s music, watching concert videos on his iPad and impersonating Urban move by move.
When tickets for Urban’s Nov. 5 show in Peoria went on sale last Christmas, parents Whitney Donaldson and Chase Hammock bought Kellen first row tickets for the family to attend the concert. They didn’t inform Kellen they were going until hours before the show.
When Kellen learned he was going to see his idol in person, he said “This is the best surprise ever.”
Kellen came prepared for the concert, bringing a handmade sign that said “I wasn’t supposed to walk. I wasn’t supposed to talk. Now I’m jamming to Keith Urban” along with a cardboard cutout of a guitar so that Kellen could rock out with Urban during the show.
At one point during the concert, Kellen sat upon his father’s shoulders as Donaldson held the sign for Urban to see. After playing his first two songs, Urban then stopped the concert because he saw Kellen’s sign. Urban walked over to Kellen, spoke with him and his parents, gave him a hug and signed the cardboard guitar.
“The concert was absolutely amazing and that moment of Kellen meeting his idol will be something he will never forget,” said Donaldson. “Kellen sang all the songs, jamming with his guitar on his daddy’s shoulders the entire concert.”
After the concert, Kellen was so excited.
“I got to meet the real-life Keith Urban and hug him!” Kellen told everyone.
“As parents of a special needs child, we have seen Kellen beat every obstacle thrown his way, with a smile on his face and the best personality,” said Donaldson. “The fact that Keith Urban was humble enough to stop his concert, speak with our son, ask about his story, and give him a hug, it was the best feeling as parents watching our son’s dreams come true.”