Quiet Hero: Young 'angel' sings to raise money for those less fortunate



Posted on May 30, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 30 at 10:20 AM

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NEW ORLEANS - Annalyse Nelson wrote the words to "How an Angel Gets Its Wings" when she was six-years-old, shortly after she was adopted by Hurley and Serena Nelson.

"I just felt like I was a new angel, and I had just come into this wonderful home with wonderful new parents, a whole wonderful new family, and I just felt like I was just really finding my spot here," Annalyse said.

She is the Nelson's only child and they feel she was heaven sent.

"God opened that door for us. There's no doubt about it. Of course the first thing she did for us was sing," Serena said.

And with the help of her music teacher Roberto Matthews, she's been singing ever since and recording music for charity.

She raised $3,000 for Catholic Charities Relief for earthquake victims in Haiti.

"When I first saw the story about how Haiti had that massive earthquake, I just felt like they needed something and I looked around my house and realized I had everything I could ever ask for and I realized in Haiti they had nothing. Now a bunch of families were ripped apart," Annalyse said.

"It's an honor to have a student who wants to give her gifts out to the people like this because it's not any minutiae of selfishness coming from her at all. She wants to share her gifts,"  Matthews said.

Her song has special significance to Erin Sarrat, whose son, Ben, died of an inoperable brain tumor.

"It so encompasses not just Ben, but you know all the kids who have so bravely fought and are bravely fighting right now," Sarrat said.

Annalyse teamed up with Sarrat, who founded the Louisiana Chapter of the Cure Starts Now to raise research funds for pediatric brain cancer.

So far, Annalyse has donated $700 from her latest recording and she hopes to raise much more in memory of her friend Ben.

"Whenever I think of Ben...I just picture him being so happy and so full of energy just like he was when he was here," Annalyse said.

After years waiting to be adopted, Annalyse is grateful to be home, but no one is more grateful than her mom.

"I do believe she's an angel and I believe she's learned how to spread her wings and fly," Serena said.

For more information or to purchase Annalyse's CD, go to the curestartsnow-la.org.