It's only a few steps to center court at the U.S. Open. But getting here has been a long, incredible journey for 7-year-old Gina Incandela, as CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller reports.
Gina's trials began at age 2, when she still wasn't talking. Her parents got a disturbing prognosis. The doctor told Gina's mom, Michelle, "I don't know if she is ever going to speak."
Diagnosed with a form of autism, Gina began intensive speech therapy. Progress was slow, until music unlocked the development door.
Gina's schoolwork and social skills improved. It turns out, this challenged child has a remarkable gift.
Gina Singing at the Mets Game
Gina Singing at the U.S.Open
Couric &Co: Gina's Song
"She would sing it in perfect pitch, and perfect key," said Michelle.
One day, 5-year-old Gina heard the national anthem on TV and insisted she wanted to sing it at a spring training baseball game. And, without a single voice lesson, that's exactly what she did.
When asked what it's like on stage, Gina said, "it's really amazing and it's kinda awesome out there."
Audiences loved her. And the once-silent Gina was in demand, belting it out at hockey arenas, ballparks, conventions, and at home games of the basketball's Orlando Magic.
She became the Magic's good luck charm, singing at nine play-off games, including three in the NBA Finals.
"It's a piece of cake," said Gina.
Gina's challenges aren't over. But like the anthem, that's all about a long, arduous battle, Gina's proving she's up to fight.
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