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'This song's for you,' Imagine Dragons tells terminally ill Utah teen

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 5:05 a.m. MDT

Kennedy during Kennedy during "Radioactive," with mom Heather (left) and sister Anna (right). (Eric Whitlock)

OGDEN — For Kennedy Hansen, Imagine Dragons' hit song "Radioactive" will have new, special meaning.

The band dedicated the song to the terminally ill teenager during its Oct. 25 concert at Weber State.

"Kennedy! I know you're out there tonight," lead singer Dan Reynolds shouted to the crowd before the band's final song, Kennedy's favorite, "Radioactive." "This song's for you!"

Screams erupted from the Hansens' corner of the pit, where Kennedy was accompanied by her parents, Jason and Heather Hansen, aunt Britney Hansen, uncle Chris Hansen, sister Anna and cousins Shantz and Chase.

Jason Hansen, Kennedy's father, wiped away tears.

Kennedy and cousin Shantz Hansen during the concert. (Eric Whitlock) Kennedy and cousin Shantz Hansen during the concert. (Eric Whitlock)

The band members, who have roots in Provo, talked with the audience about their love of returning to Utah. And while they brought the house down with hits like "It's Time" and "Demons," nothing was bigger than the finale.

It was for Kennedy, after all.

In June, Kennedy was diagnosed with juvenile Batten disease, a terminal illness that attacks the nervous system. While Kennedy's family is coping with the inevitable fate of their oldest daughter, they are trying to make her life as full and happy as possible.

Kennedy is currently a cheerleader at Fremont High School, getting ready for an upcoming school dance and anticipating her 16th birthday in November.

And thanks to tickets provided by Weber State, the family was able to attend the concert.

Kennedy Hansen, ready for the concert to start. (Eric Whitlock) Kennedy Hansen, ready for the concert to start. (Eric Whitlock)

Shortly before Imagine Dragons began the show, the band invited Kennedy and her family backstage. Jason wrote on the Kennedy's Facebook page, Kennedy's Hugs, that when his daughter met Reynolds, he told her the night was entirely devoted to her.

During the concert, Kennedy danced and sang the words to every song.

"They were sincere, they were loving, they were interested," Jason wrote. "The crowd was antsy, waiting on their toes and cheering. They were supposed to have started and they sat there with Kennedy. She was on Cloud Nine. Her dream of meeting this band was fulfilled."

Email: ebuchanan@deseretnews.com Twitter: emmiliewhitlock

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