Huffpost Teen

Marlana VanHoose, 17-Year-Old, Overcomes Challenges And Inspires Others With Her Incredible Voice (VIDEO)

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Though she can't see the keys on her piano or the sea of spectators watching her belt out a flawless rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," vision is not necessary to feel the impact 17-year-old Marlana VanHoose's talents has on her community.

Instead of succumbing to the hardships of being born blind and being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a toddler, the Kentucky teen finds comfort in music and sharing her gift with others.

According to CBS News, Marlana has been playing the piano by ear since the age of two. She also has an incredible voice. In June 2011, Marlana sang "My Old Kentucky Home" in the Kentucky Special Olympic's opening ceremonies.

"I like to give people hope and strength to live from singing and from encouraging people," Marlana said.

Watch the video above and listen to Marlana talk about her journey.

Last April, a video of Marlana singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" at a University of Kentucky women's basketball game circulated around the web. The teen originally gave her amazing performance in February of 2012, and the video on YouTube has over 300,000 views.

"I genuinely sing to people who are lost," Marlana told CBS News. "That probably helps a lot of people feel like they're found."

The teen has continued to make her way around her home state, showing off her vocal skills. On Sunday, the teen sang the national anthem at the NASCAR Quaker State 400 race in Kentucky.

After her performance, the Kentucky Speedway tweeted:

Marlana's story is featured in CBS News' "Young Innovator" series, which highlights teenagers who are "making their marks on the world." In May, the network profiled 16-year-old Jack Andraka who developed an innovative test for pancreatic cancer that won last year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

"It's a 168 times faster, over 26,000 times less expensive, and over 400 times more sensitive than our current methods of diagnosis," he explained to CBS.

Jack's work doesn't stop there. Now, he's working on another science project for the Tricorder XPRIZE competition, a $10 million award for creating a smartphone-sized device that can immediately diagnose any disease after scanning it over your skin.

What do you think of these young innovators? What inspires you? Tell us in the comments or tweet at @HuffPostTeen.

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