FARGO — It's been six months since 12 year-old Landon Solberg was laid to rest after a long and courageous battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

And just as Solberg spread his faith, kindness and compassion for others throughout his two-year battle with Grade III anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare and malignant brain tumor, his light keeps shining through others.

Most recently, his light is coming through Sullivan Middle School seventh grader Annabelle Maher.

"I wrote a song for Landon Solberg," says Annabelle. "He lost his battle to cancer, and he was really strong. His story opened my eyes to the community."

While she didn't know him personally, Annabelle says stories at his funeral helped inspire her song.

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Annabelle Maher, 13, has written an original song in honor of Landon Solberg, the 12-year-old West Fargo boy who had courageously battled an aggressive form of brain cancer. David Samson / The Forum
Annabelle Maher, 13, has written an original song in honor of Landon Solberg, the 12-year-old West Fargo boy who had courageously battled an aggressive form of brain cancer. David Samson / The Forum

"I just didn't realize everything that's going on in the community," Annabelle says. "I just realized there's a lot of problems that I didn't know about and I just felt more involved. He kind of changed me."

While the 13-year-old has only been writing music since she was 10, Annabelle has grown up with a tune in her heart. She draws inspiration from the world around her, and says some of her favorite artists include country singers Kacey Musgraves and Taylor Swift.

"Songwriting is just something that happens for me," she says. "When something happens in my life, I just write a song about it. Usually it takes me about a day or a week to write a song, but 'Landon's Song' took me three months because I wanted to get all the right lyrics into the song."

"Annabelle has kind of a neat musical journey," says Annabelle's mother, Elizabeth Maher. "I think this all started when she was asked to sing for Vice President Joe Biden when he came here a couple of years ago. And that's when she just kind of started playing guitar."

Annabelle's father introduced her to music at an early age, and it took. In addition to playing for Biden, Annabelle has performed at 1 Million Cups and other events around the Fargo-Moorhead area and has had her songs professionally recorded.

Annabelle Maher performs during a 1 Million Cups event at the Sanctuary Events Center in downtown Fargo on Wednesday, Jan. 22. David Samson / The Forum
Annabelle Maher performs during a 1 Million Cups event at the Sanctuary Events Center in downtown Fargo on Wednesday, Jan. 22. David Samson / The Forum


"At first we were like, 'Whose song is that?' and she would say, 'That's my song,'" Elizabeth says. "I think she's written about 15 to 20 songs. This is her passion."

But 'Landon's Song' isn't just a song. Just as Solberg lived to spread his compassion to others, Annabelle is following in his footsteps.

Everything generated from sales and streams of "Landon's Song" will be donated directly to Landon's Light Foundation, which directly supports children battling medical conditions as well as provides financial assistance to organizations benefiting children in similar situations.

"When she came to us with the idea for 'Landon's Song' and wanting to promote it and get the proceeds to his foundation, we were thrilled and so proud of her," Elizabeth says.

"It just kind of happened," Annabelle says.

Annabelle says she hopes to continue writing her own music and make a difference in the world.

"I've only written about 20 songs," she says. "But I really want to keep writing songs for my whole life. Because I feel like if I keep writing songs, then my music can make a difference in the world."

Annabelle's music, including "Landon's Song," can be found on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music. To support her via social media, follow her on Instagram at @annabelle.maher.music.