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“America’s Got Talent” Star Angelica Hale on Her Life-Saving Kidney Transplant

Photos: Courtesy of Mary Buck

Fans know 13-year-old Angelica Hale for her singing performance on season 12 of “America’s Got Talent.” Now, the star is using her voice to share her personal health story.

When Angelica was four years old, she got double pneumonia as the result of an aggressive strep pneumococcal bacterial infection. Then she experienced sepsis – a life-threatening condition caused by her body’s extreme response to an infection – which led to multiple-organ failure. She was on life-support for 12 days and spent weeks in the ICU in a medically induced coma.

Doctors said 20 percent of her right lung was damaged by the infection, and her kidneys would never recover. She needed a kidney transplant. While waiting for a match, Angelica was on dialysis for a year and a half. 

Finding her match

“After testing, it was determined that my mom was a match. At that moment, it was like a ray of light came over me, and I knew that I was going to live,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to pursue my love of singing again. Music helped me through a lot in the hospital, and it seemed like I was far away from my troubles when I was singing or listening to music.”

Angelica is the first child ambassador for the National Kidney Foundation. She’s committed to spreading the word about kidney disease and teaching others how to take proper care of their kidneys.

The teenager, who is also an advocate for the Sepsis Alliance, encourages kids and adults to drink water instead of sugary drinks, calling water, “your kidneys’ best friend.” She also recommends eating healthy, getting regular checkups, and asking your doctor about your kidney health.

Her father, James Hale, advises parents and family members of those awaiting a transplant to stay positive. “Do everything you can to not despair and to keep your hopes up because your loved ones need you now more than ever,” he says. “We were fortunate in that my wife, Eva, was a match for Angelica, and she never hesitated to make the sacrifice.”

He wants other families in a similar situation to lean on your friends for help and know you’re not alone.

“The community, family, and friends all rallied behind us and I don’t know how we would have made it through without their support,” he says.

Never lose hope

Angelica knows waiting for a kidney can be extremely difficult. She wants others in a similar situation to focus on the future.

“As days pass, you start to wonder when that one hero will come and save you,” she says. “Keep holding out for that hero, keep pushing forward, never lose hope, and find something you enjoy and use that as your light.”

Music has always been that something special for Angelica. The AGT runner up continues to performs worldwide and gives back to communities and organizations benefiting youth.

“After getting out of the hospital, I knew that I shouldn’t take any day of my life for granted, and so I worked at my craft and began doing charity events for many organizations, like Make-A-Wish, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” she says.

Her latest song, “Looking Up,” which debuted for International Day of the Girl, is meant to inspire and uplift girls and women.

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