One day when Laurel was 11, she began to feel dizzy while playing with her twin sister and some friends in a park on Cape Cod. She sat down, and one of her friends asked her if she was okay. And then Laurel's memory went blank. A sudden blockage in a key blood vessel leading to the brain had caused a massive stroke. Blood could no longer reach regions crucial for language and communication, resulting in permanent damage. Laurel was still able to understand language, but she struggled to vocalize even a single word, and what she managed to say was often garbled or not what she had intended. Except when she sang.