Special Needs Now

Dolly Parton and Boy With Down Syndrome Duet Her Greatest Hits

Dolly Parton
Who doesn't want to meet -- and sing with -- their musical hero? (Just ask the kids who met Adam Levine and Weird Al Yankovic.)

Gage Blackwell, 12, has been a life-long fan of Dolly Parton. After sharing his wish to meet Dolly on his Facebook page, someone suggested that his mom, Lynnae, try contacting Dolly's business associate. Eventually, a meet-and-greet came together, and Gage's dream of meeting Dolly came true when he met the country music legend at a restaurant in her Dollywood theme park.

Not only did Gage, who has Down syndrome, get Dolly's autograph, but they sang a few of her songs together. They performed impromptu duets of "Islands in the Stream," "9 to 5," and "Jolene," along with Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."

"Dolly made him feel like the most important person in the room," Lynnae shared with TODAY. "She was so amazing to just embrace him the way she did. He will never forget her kindness and, as his mother, I will always be grateful for the love she showed to my wonderful son."

After meeting Dolly, Gage posted a few videos on his Facebook page and couldn't contain his excitement: "I met Dolly Parton!!!!!! She is wonderful!!!!! We sang together!!!!!!"

Watch a video of Gage and Dolly singing "Ring of Fire":

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Photo of Dolly Parton via DFreeShutterstock.com