The Story Behind Emily's Angel

"Always Believe"

Our daughter, Emily, 15, has an incurable brain tumor, a slow-growing astrocytoma in the thalamus. Emily was diagnosed at the age of 6. She's been through several major surgeries, several years of chemotherapy, and a full course of radiation.

In the late fall of 1998, Emily was experiencing brutal headaches and severe light-sensitivity, partly due to a build-up of fluid in her brain. With the shades pulled down and her head bundled up with ice packs, she spent a lot of time listening to country music on WKLB-FM in Boston.

Emily and Garth

Emily had long felt especially connected to Garth Brooks. She dreamed about him often. One night at bedtime she told her mother that she was sure she would get to meet him someday. We didn't see much chance of that.

But five days later, thanks to the incredible efforts of a small army of good people, Emily was granted her wish: a trip to New York City to meet Garth backstage before he was to appear on The View. The hoped-for chat turned into a three-day stay, as Garth invited Emily and Valerie to stay on at his expense in New York City and attend the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. It was the final week of his three-year tour.

He put them up in a fine hotel, bought them clothes for the stay, and let them hang out with his family and Trisha Yearwood. Garth walked around backstage and made sure all the lights were dimmed. He talked to Emily and stroked her head.

"Always believe," he said during their last meeting. "You have to always believe. If you don't understand that, then you've never truly heard a single Garth song." Then he gave her his tour guitar.

Emmy had surgery a week later in Boston. As a result of the pressure of the fluid on her optic nerve over the preceding months, she lost a good portion of her eyesight and is now legally blind. But she remains a happy, funny, creative, and very intelligent girl, who's biggest mission in life is to make other people love Garth as much as she does.

In the weeks after the visit with Garth, Emily wrote the words and music to "One Special Day," while Valerie wrote her own account, the song "Emily's Angel." They still think about the visit every single day. To our family, Garth Brooks is a hero.

Valerie & Walter Crockett

Valerie & Walter Crockett's
Emily's Angel
Main Page
Dianne Williamson's
Column on Emily
Planet Garth's Story
on the Garth Visit
Thanks! Song Lyrics