SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Life could be a challenge for Emalee Herrington. But she found peace in music.

I got on stage when I was eight and it’s really just where I found my home. Whenever I’m upset, I write music. Whenever something’s going on, I write music. It’s really just what I always go back to.

Emalee Herrington

When she was younger, Emalee was inspired by a spot on the Disney Channel, asking kids to nominate their favorite non-profit for grants. Her first question was, “What’s a non-profit?” You might say the answer struck a chord… and out of that came Emalee’s Musical Medicine.

She started by creating personalized CDs for kids with serious illnesses. That evolved into handing out Christmas gifts and, this spring for the first time, personalized Easter baskets.

We started with eight paper bags and now we’re up to 63 Easter baskets, and every year it’s growing and I just can not wait to see where it goes.

Emalee Herrington

Her talents have drawn attention around the Central New York music scene. In 2018, she joined the all-star project, “We Are One,” singing with many of the area’s finest talent on “Bridge Street.”

And in 2020, she was included in the Acoustic Guitar Project, writing a song in just one week.

If that’s not enough, she joined the fire department at 15 and a half, and she’s now studying to become an EMT.

She’s still only 18, but with school and her other responsibilities, she’s playing out less. But don’t expect her to back off from helping kids, her way of saying thanks to the teachers and others who helped her.