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Carrie Underwood: “See You Onstage”

Carrie Underwood fan Vanessa Prince is Canadian—from Belle River, Ontario, to be exact—but she couldn’t help being charmed by an all-American girl.

While waiting in the meet-and-greet line before Carrie’s concert in Detroit, Vanessa met Hayley Ray, an excited but very polite 4-year-old whose biggest wish was about to come true. Vanessa watched as the wide-eyed youngster caught a glimpse of Carrie. “She covered her mouth with one hand,” writes Vanessa, “then looked at us and said, ‘She’s real pretty.’”

While conversing with Hayley’s aunt, Kim Roberts, Vanessa learned that the special meeting was set into motion by Hayley’s grandmother, whose co-worker knows Carrie’s bus driver*. They joined forces on behalf of Hayley, who has leukemia. Knowing this, Vanessa watched tearfully as Carrie sang a Disney song to Hayley while the two of them danced around. “Carrie knelt down for one last hug and said, ‘If I ask you to come onstage will you dance with me again?’ ” Hayley quickly agreed, recalls Vanessa, “and said, adorably, ‘See you onstage.’”

Vanessa videotaped Hayley’s guest spot during “All-American Girl,” which prompted a flood of positive responses after being posted on the Internet. No one’s been more inspired, though, than Vanessa: “You see how happy and positive Hayley is, you see Carrie and her kindness . . . suddenly, you realize your problems are ‘so small.’”

* Correction: Hayley Ray’s grandmother’s co-worker, Kathy Beyer, tells CW that it was not Carrie’s bus driver but rather Chris Cagle’s driver, Tommy, who helped set up the meet-and-greet between Carrie and Hayley. (Thanks, Kathy, for setting the record straight.)

Support The Team

Hayley, now 5, is thankfully in remission. But her dad, along with many others, is helping raise funds for leukemia awareness by running in an April triathlon in Tampa, Fla., for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. Hayley’s parents, Chris and Katie Ray, have asked CW readers who are touched by this story to consider making a donation to the organization in Hayley’s honor. To donate to the Ray family’s fundraising efforts, go to Chris Ray’s Donation Page on the Lymphoma Society’s website.