Hannah Kelsy: A mission to help kids with MS
Hannah Kelsy started playing music at the age of two, and it has been a huge part of her life ever since. She started messing around on the family’s piano when she wasn’t even tall enough to reach the keys. At that time, she was too young to realize that one day music would be the healing power she needed to get back on her feet.
Fast forward a few years: Hannah was 13 years old and an average student at her local middle school. She still had a passion for music, only now she could reach the keys and had already finished composing her first CD. She started to experience fatigue and felt pain all over her body. The pain grew stronger and one day during class, her classmates found her under her desk, having a seizure.
Diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, Hannah spent the next five months bouncing around to different childrens’ hospitals in New England. Reality set in when a doctor told her family that the road to recovery was long and that she might never move normally again. But after months of therapy and treatment, she was able to restart the life that she once had.
Hannah made a promise to herself that when she recovered, she would do whatever it took to help kids just like her who were faced with the same reality.
“I wasn’t diagnosed with MS, but I can sympathize with every kid who has. I’ve spent lonely nights in a hospital and I’ve felt pain throughout my body without knowing the true cause. I know what it’s like to be scared every time a doctor walks into your room,” says Hannah. “Music was a huge part of my recovery. It gave me something to focus on—to take my mind off the pain—and gave me the strength to get back on my feet.”
Less than a year after leaving the hospital, Hannah had resumed her studies and was traveling back and forth to Los Angeles to finish production on her second music album. She was cast in a TV pilot, filming music videos and producing music. She spent more nights on red-eye flights and in hotels than at home with her family and friends. She was chasing her dream. The work was hard, but it was her passion.
One of the most valuable things Hannah learned during her journey was that she didn’t have to be personally affected to be part of the movement to end MS. She’s challenged her friends and fans to join her and help raise awareness of something bigger than themselves.
Hannah’s song, “Not a Child,” was written about her illness and the long road to recovery that she faced. During the summer of 2011, she filmed the music video for this song in Rockport, Mass., and pledged to donate 100% of the profits to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. While filming, she had the privilege to meet with campers at the Stony Brook Multiple Sclerosis Teen Adventure Camp in Providence, R.I. This visit was the beginning of what she calls her “new mission,” to help kids overcome what holds them back by embracing the healing power of music.