Leukemia patient surprises star quarterback with knockout duet

Eleven-year-old Breanna belted out 10 songs with University of Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam at Target House. 


Michelle Jaworski


Published Jul 26, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 10:34 am CDT

University of Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam has done a great deal on the field, but it’s his accomplishments off the field that have everyone watching.

Featured Video Hide

He volunteered at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. on Monday, something he does once every month or two. Sometimes he’ll help with boxes or do arts and crafts with the kids, but this week he played piano for the patients and their families.

Advertisement Hide

And 11-year-old Breanna sang right along.

Breanna was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last month and moved to Target House (where families of St. Jude patients live while a child receives treatment) to start her cancer treatment. That night she was introduced to Karam, and they instantly clicked.

The family didn’t know who Karam was—or that he was a star quarterback—but Breanna sat right next to Karam and sang while he accompanied her on Jessie J’s “Price Tag.”

Somebody had alerted Karam that Breanna, who he noticed was shy, wanted to sing. He has the ability to play a song after hearing it, so once Breanna sang a few notes, he joined right in.

Advertisement Hide

“I didn’t know how it was going to go, but she started belting it out,” Karam told CBS Sports. “I tried to figure it out on the key, started backing her up a little. She sang her heart out, and it sounded beautiful.”

While not many people knew of Karam’s visits to St. Jude or his musical talents—Karam’s coaches and teammates didn’t find out until the video went viral—nobody aside from Breanna’s mother, Dana Bertucci, knew that Breanna could sing.

They dueted on 10 songs over the course of the night, according to Bertucci. Breanna wanted to sing more, and Karam was more than happy to comply.

Photo via Dara Bertucci/YouTube

Share this article
*First Published: Jul 26, 2013, 2:17 pm CDT