WACO, Texas (KWTX) Among the many people who showed up for the seventh birthday celebration Sunday for Layla Evetts and her twin sister Rayleigh was country music star Aaron Watson.
(Photo by Drake Lawson)
"I fell in love with Layla the first time I met her," says Watson, who developed a bond with Layla a few months ago during the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo in Waco.
Layla, the soon to be 7-year-old from Riesel, is fighting terminal brain cancer.
When Watson learned of the young girl's story, he and KWTX news anchor Julie Hays organized a special night for Layla in which she was able to join the artist on stage.
"There are just some personalities and some people that automatically click and that is what Aaron and Layla did that night," says Layla's mother Amanda Perry, overjoyed to have Aaron attend her daughters' birthday celebration.
Watson brought along his own daughter Jolee Kate to visit with Layla and give her a special birthday gift.
"These are the kind of things in life that are important," says Watson.
"Country music is way down on the list, family and friends are the things that matter the most," he says.
Layla's father Corey Evetts has also been amazed with the bond Watson and his daughter have.
"To love my own kid like she is his own child, is something special... he is salt of the earth kind of people," says Corey.
Watson did more than just show up to give Layla gifts. He participated in a social media challenge that raises awareness for DIPG, the form of cancer Layla is battling.
The challenge is called the #LemonFaceChallenge and consists of people filming themselves eating entire wedges of lemon and posting their best sour faces online.
The challenge is meant to raise awareness of DIPG and encourage people to donate to the fight against it.
Participants are then asked to nominate others to take part in the challenge.
Watson, his daughter Jolee, Layla, and Layla's sister Rayleigh all participated in the challenge.
"The lemon face challenge is a great way to get knowledge because two years ago we didn’t know what DIPG was," says Layla's father Corey Evetts.
The family is asking everyone to participate in the challenge and help raise awareness through this link http://donate2csn.org/LaylasLemonFaceChallenge