Anya Meets Ed Sheeran

September 15, 2015

Anya is a typical five-year old girl… playing with her brother and sister, going to birthday parties, dancing to her favorite music. Last fall, however, things changed for Anya and her family when she was suddenly diagnosed with Leukemia.

“The days in the PICU that I sat beside my little girl and she was in too much pain to talk, I would play music,” Anya’s mom said. “Ed Sheeran sang songs that brought my little girl back to life, and would give me small glimpses of our world before this awful reality. When she could finally sit up for long enough to play, we would build houses with Legos and sing…
I’m gonna pick up the pieces
And build a Lego house
When things go wrong we can knock it down.”

“As a family, we all have one love in common- Ed Sheeran. We have screamed his music at the top of our lungs together with the moonroof open on some great days, and whispered it to Anya as we tried to comfort her & ease her pain on some of our worst days. His music unites us, and it makes us feel good when not much else will.”

It was our pleasure to be able to send Anya and her family to the Ed Sheeran show in Tampa, FL. Ed is an artist who exemplifies what it means to do it for the love and generously invited Anya and her family backstage before the show.


“That night took us away from cancer,” her mom said. “She might be bald, but she rocked a green sparkly ‘X’  on the back of her shiny head to match the CD cover that she held in her hand. Her hands might have been shaky due to nerve damage from the chemotherapy, but she held on tight to the orange bracelet that she brought as a gift for him. A mask might have covered her face while we were in the crowd of people waiting in line, but she had a HUGE smile underneath – and she had a question to ask Ed…No mask would stop her from doing that. “Would you like to be on Team Anya Cale?” she asked as her shaky arm handed her hero a bright orange bracelet. When he gladly accepted, her smile lit up the entire room. They chatted about superheroes, and then before taking pictures and signing her CD – he asked her what her favorite song was.  We took our seats in the 5th row and had a perfect view of the center stage. When Ed finally came out, he opened and then sang her favorite song – Lego House. I held her up and she waved at him – he smiled a huge smile and nodded at her. When the camera closed in on his right arm playing the guitar sporting his new Team Anya Cale bracelet, she screamed, “HE HAS MY BRACELET ON, MOMMY!!! HE’S ON MY TEAM!!!”

Yes, he is, Anya. Ed Sheeran is on your team. And for that night, everyone in the Amalie Arena was on her team… even if they didn’t know it they were playing a part in the best night of my little girl’s life. Tears filled my eyes several times that night as my kids enjoyed the music and one another… we got lost in the moment, and it felt amazing to do so.”
Team Anya Cale  #BeatLeukemia