A Rochester family is making a difference through March of Dimes at Rochester's Greatest Fat Tuesday Party Ever. A father and daughter who graced the stage at the Water Street Music Hall to do something, they were told, could be impossible.
"Singing for me was always how I expressed myself or how I told a story," said Mary Kate Vadala.
Mary Kate's story started far from a stage. When she was first born, doctors said being behind a microphone singing could be nearly impossible.
"I was born with a birth defect called a diaphragmatic hernia, which means that I was given a one in ten chance to live if I survived the surgery that I had to have," said Mary Kate.
After surviving surgery, doctors said her lungs would never be at full capacity. Her father, Mike Vadala, remembers the heartbreaking diagnosis.
"You're emotions are just a terrible roller coaster. My wife was at one hospital, my daughter was at another and I was running back and forth and it was like someone was tearing my insides out and running me over with a car and putting them back inside me every day," said Mike.
Mike says his daughter was one of the fortunate ones who made it through. He credits the indirect research efforts of the March of Dimes. The organization's mission is to research problems that threaten the health of babies.
Now, father and daughter are dedicated to giving back.
"I think that when you have something like that happen in your life it gives you a direction to... well, this is where I'm going to focus my effort and this is what's close to me and my family," said Mary Kate.
Since Mary Kate was six years old, the Vadala family raised about $5,000 a year for March of Dimes. More than ten years ago, Mike played an instrumental role in bringing Rochester's Greatest Fat Tuesday Party Ever to the Water Street Music Hall.
"It's really cool that we're doing it to save babies. It saved one of mine. How could it be more meaningful than that?" asked Mike.
For Mike and Mary Kate, what's just as meaningful is singing together at the event Tuesday night. Mary Kate, who just released her own CD, performed with her dad's band.
It's music that's nothing short of a miracle.
"The truth to the matter is she's a heck of a singer. She's got pretty good lungs," said Mike.