ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Nerves aside, 12-year-old Marissa Peddie sang the national anthem in front of a sold-out crowd at the Rowdies home opener.
"It makes me feel honored because I know this is such a huge deal!"
Her voice, inspiring the thousands of fans from their seats, and the players, too.
But, her story doesn't start here. Four years ago, Marissa and her family got the devastating news that she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was just 8-years-old.
Her love for singing and music got her through 2 1/2 years of treatments.
"It was her place of peace, a place of healing," said Marissa's mother, Jennifer Peddie. " She just started to create and to grow. I would just be amazed."
Marissa even started to teach herself how to play the keyboard by ear.
Five months after her diagnosis, Marissa sang in front of a crowd of 300.
Later, she joined Grammy award-winning artist Sheryl Crow on stage, while conquering her illness.
"It's how I kind of knew that I was going to be fine and it just helped me forget about all my worries and troubles," Marissa explained.
Two years ago, she sang at Al Lang Stadium for the team's "Gold Together for Childhood Cancer" match. It would only lead to a permanent spot on the roster.
Marissa's mother was the one who got the phone call from the team.
"I was like, 'Wait, wait. What?' She was like, 'Yeah, someone asked.' I was like, 'Well, respond! Like, right now! Say yes!'" remembered Marissa.
Marissa is the Rowdies first official national anthem singer.
"God really did have a plan for me and the good stuff was coming out of it. I found my passion because of this," she said.
She'll wow crowds every home game, but more so, she'll inspire people for how she handled the biggest battle of her life.
Now cancer- free, Marissa is also an ambassador for childhood cancer. She hopes to one day become a singer.