Every country music fan loves Willie Nelson, but the parents of one special little girl credit his music with literally saving her life.

Four-year-old Ava Adams was born premature at 27 weeks and endured 12 surgeries in the first 15 months of her life. Her parents, Brittany and Jamison, were allowed very little interaction with her in the neonatal intensive care unit, but they did notice one thing that seemed to really help her.

“Any time she was having a bad day, you could play Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash or Ray Price and her stats would come up, she would start doing better just almost immediately,” Jamison tells News Channel 10 in Amarillo, Texas.

As she got older, Ava gravitated toward Nelson, and now, along with a backpack containing a feeding tube, she carries her Willie Nelson doll with her everywhere she goes. For Christmas in 2014, her parents scored tickets to Nelson’s scheduled concert in New Mexico, but it was canceled due to snow, and ever since then, Ava wanders around the house yelling, “We need to go see Willie Nelson!”

Her mother says they’re going to be patient and wait for another opportunity to see Nelson when the venue is conducive to Ava’s needs. Until then, she offers up her thanks to the country icon.

“You have no clue how many times you’ve actually saved our daughter’s life,” Brittany says. “There were times where her heart rate was incredibly low. She was … cardiac, she was not doing well. She spent so long in there and it was such a long road, but actually just playing that music for her really, really did change and save her life.”

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