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American musical prodigy Kodi Lee delights crowd at B.C. autism fundraiser

Click to play video: 'America’s Got Talent winner Kodi Lee in Vancouver to promote autism information'
America’s Got Talent winner Kodi Lee in Vancouver to promote autism information
If you are a fan of America's Got Talent, you may remember Kodi Lee. He wowed the judges and voters with his musical talent. The legally blind pianist has Addison's disease and was diagnosed with autism. He was here to perform at Pacific Autism Launch luncheon. Catherine Urquhart has the story. – Nov 25, 2022

An American musical prodigy stunned and delighted a Vancouver audience at the Pacific Autism Family Network’s holiday luncheon fundraiser on Friday.

Kodi Lee, 26, is blind and has autism, and according to his website, is one of about 25 people in the world who possess his “extraordinary abilities.”

He has perfect pitch and an audio-photographic memory, meaning he can recall music after hearing it once.

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Lee won Season 14 of America’s Got Talent in 2019 and has helped raise more than $1 million to support individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

“I never knew he would get this far and it’s a blessing he did, because he opened so many doors for all of our kids to have a lot more opportunities,” said his mother, Tina Lee.

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“I think the message is to keep going, no matter how hard it is, to keep finding their talents and give them the tools.”

Click to play video: 'This Is BC:  Local composer hits the big time with children’s shows'
This Is BC: Local composer hits the big time with children’s shows

Lee performed a number of songs — including an original and favourites like John Lennon’s Imagine — before 800 people at the Westin Bayshore hotel, delighting everyone in the room.

He said it was “so good” to be in Vancouver, adding he was happy to be supporting families with kids on the autism spectrum and that it feels “amazing” to be an inspiration to so many.

“Heck yeah, I make people happy,” he said. “Dude, I’m a superstar.”

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Jackie Vuilleumier, whose son has autism, said Lee’s performance was “mind-blowing.”

“I’m overwhelmed because I know of the work that goes in behind the scenes with Kodi … It was the best way to end a wonderful luncheon,” she told Global News.

“With events like this, I hope people can see what autism is because it is a spectrum. We have really high-functioning people and we have really low-functioning people, and I want a village behind my son.”

Sergio Cocchia, founder of the Pacific Autism Family Network, said it was difficult to book such a big star for the luncheon, but the network got support from Lee’s family and the Vancouver International Airport.

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