Last June, when Van Bernard performed with his music therapist, Tom Curry, at the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 6-year-old blew his audience (and the Internet) away as he sang "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers.
Van was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy Type 2 (SMA) when he was 10 months old, according to his family's fundraising page. He's been in a wheelchair since he was 18 months old, but his disease hasn't affected his spirit.
"We are blessed that he continues to thrive and grow into an intelligent, funny and always smiling little boy," his parents wrote on his fundraising page.
Now, about nine months after his "Ho Hey" video went up, Van's racked up more than 22,000 views. And the attention has begun to help his family raise money so Van can have a wheelchair van -- a wheelchair that can safely roll and lock into a van for traveling.
"It would be way easier for my parents and my sister if I just drive in," Van told the Chronicle Herald. "[My mom] wouldn’t always have to open the trunk and close it and stuff like that. We could just get in the car and go, and that means we wouldn’t be late for things."
From February 17 through March 17, those interested in supporting Van and others affected by neuromuscular disorders can purchase a $1 paper shamrock here.
Clarification:: A previous version of this article referred to Tom Curry as a music therapy teacher. The article has been updated to reflect that he is a practicing music therapist.