Before AJ Hwangbo was hospitalized for a life-threatening condition, he was a happy 6-year-old who loved Macklemore.
However, no one could have predicted the relationship the two would one day form.
In November, the Seattle boy fell ill, and after being rushed to Seattle Children's Hospital, physicians discovered that his heart, which was enlarged, was beating abnormally. Had they not intervened, and treated the rare condition (acute viral mycarditis), the child could have suffered permanent damage or died, the hospital told the local ABC station. But in spite of his recovery, his spirits were low.
"Most of the time he would look right through me," his mother Yoo-Lee Yea said told the hospital's news letter.. "We didn't know what was going on in his psyche."
Around that time, two tickets to Macklemore's sold-out December show were donated to the hospital, and one of Hwangbo's doctors offered them to the boy and his family.
"We were concerned for his life," his mother said. "But when I told AJ, he had the biggest smile on his face. He was so happy. That's all I needed to do to go through with it."
But the hospital staff went one step further: They arranged for Hwangbo to sit in the front row and meet the singer backstage.
"It was such a great experience," Yea said. "Macklemore and his fiance were so kind and gentle with him. They gave him gifts and joked with him. Macklemore even told AJ that he was planning a surprise visit to the hospital so he would see him again soon."
After the show, Hwangbo's behavior improved and he began playing. Now, doctors are confident that he will make a full recovery.