It was a dream come true for Weezer fan Kira Iaconetti.
The 19-year-old girl underwent brain surgery recently. She suffers from musicogenic epilepsy, something that affects her ability to sing and perform — her passion. During the recent operation, she sang the 2001 Weezer song Island in the Sun while doctors attempted to remove the tumour.
A video of her singing during the surgery surfaced online and went viral. Weezer reached out to Iaconetti and invited her to perform on their upcoming tour.
“Wishing you a speedy recovery, Kira. Would love for you to join us at one of the shows this spring,” the band wrote.
The tumour was successfully removed thanks to Dr. Jason Hauptman, a neurosurgeon at the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
In order to salvage her singing abilities, Hauptman and his team had to avoid the areas of her brain that allowed her to play music. He decided it would be beneficial to wake her up during the surgery and sing so the surgeons could actively track those areas of the brain.
Iaconetti was seen singing and playing guitar only hours after waking up from the surgery.
“Because Dr. Hauptman knew how important it is to me sing, he wanted to be very careful when removing my tumour. He didn’t want to interfere with my ability to do so.”
Seemingly amazed by her talent and dedication, Weezer was quick to reach out.
“Shoot us a DM and we’ll make it happen,” wrote the band.
“It was my greatest honour to be a part of your journey and recovery! You are incredible.” Hauptman wrote, graciously praising the girl’s strength.
Iaconetti humbly praised the neurosurgeon. “This man was actually the one poking my brain,” she wrote. “He was the bravest of them all.”
When sitting down with Global News, Iaconetti revealed on Monday that she first noticed the issue when she was doing karaoke at home and she felt “a tiny poke on her brain” and couldn’t sing, keep up with the music or remember lyrics.
She claimed it was the “one thing I’m actually good at” and had been performing since the age of six. She began to notice it in 2014 when she couldn’t remember words or stay in key. She didn’t seek medical attention until it started to affect her behaviour and mood. The musical hindrance began to irritate her.
“Whatever it is, it just feels like a light switch just switches in my brain and suddenly I’m tone deaf, I can’t sing, I can’t process the words in time with the music,” she explained to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
After a visit to a neurologist and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, it was discovered that Iaconetti had a benign, marble-sized tumour on her right temporal lobe that was pushing up against her auditory cortex and causing the epileptic episodes.
WATCH: Kira Iaconetti’s stor: living with musicogenic epilepsy.
Iaconetti admitted she still doesn’t feel like her ability to sing has fully returned, but she has had no seizures since the operation.
She worries she might still have one, so is allowing herself to recover properly. As of this writing, it is unconfirmed when Iaconetti will appear onstage with Weezer.
The band will be touring North America, including two Canadian shows, with the Pixies next Spring.
Tickets are available on the official Weezer website.
Weezer 2019 tour dates
** Canadian dates are bolded **
March 8 – Louisville, Kent. @ KFC Yum! Center
March 10 – Columbia, South Car. @ Colonial Life Arena
March 13 – Montreal, Quebec @ Bell Centre
March 14 – Albany, New York @ Times Union Center
March 16 – Mashantucket, Conn. @ Foxwoods Resort Casino*
March 17 – Baltimore, Mar. @ Royal Farms Arena
March 19 – Columbus, Ohio @ Schottenstein Center
March 20 – Grand Rapids, Mich. @ Van Andel Arena
March 22 – Memphis, Tenn. @ FedEx Forum
March 24 – St. Louis, Miss. @ Enterprise Center
March 26 – Kansas City, Miss. @ Sprint Center
March 27 – Tulsa, Okla. @ BOK Center
March 28 – Des Moines, Iowa @ Wells Fargo Arena
March 30 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Xcel Energy Center
March 31 – Madison, Wisc. @ Alliant Energy Center
April 5 – Nampa, Ida. @ Ford Idaho Center Arena
April 6 – Portland, Oreg. @ Moda Center
April 7 – Vancouver, B.C. @ Rogers Arena
April 9 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Golden 1 Center
April 10 – Oakland, Calif. @ Oracle Arena*
April 12 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ Mandalay Bay Event Center
— With files from Sean Previl