There is no medical cure for cystic fibrosis, but Ethan Payne has found his own cure for the disease that has affected him since he was 18-months-old: music. It also doesn’t hurt his spirits that he renewed his friendship with country music star Luke Bryan on his American Idol audition this week.
The two first met at one of Bryan’s shows two years ago with the help of Make-a-Wish. Bryan even brought Payne out on-stage to perform and then gave the 15-year-old one of his guitars. Payne’s mother and grandmother’s advice to chase his dreams despite his challenges was paying off.
“It feels like you’re not going to get through it,” Payne said of the disease that affects his breathing. “It feels like you have no hope. I never ever saw singing in my future.”
But his talents brought him to the American Idol audition, where he surprised Bryan and asked him to join him for a duet of “Do I.” Payne even used the guitar Bryan gave him.
After the performance, judges were impressed. Lionel Richie called Payne an inspiration. Katy Perry said she loved his confidence. And we already knew how Bryan felt. It all added up to a trip to Hollywood!