Ava Blaser is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, but she hasn’t let that stop the 10-year-old from continuing to practice her craft — and even from winning national dance competitions. Speaking with CBS News, the young star said that dancing gave her “something to look forward to” during treatment. When asked how she could possibly go through hours of practice just days after a chemotherapy session, she shrugged and gave a smile.
“I just kind of push myself,” she explained.
Blaser was first diagnosed with Stage 5 Bilateral Wilms — a kidney cancer that occurs in both kidneys — when she was just 3 years old. After going through 12 weeks of chemotherapy, she had her left kidney — as well as part of her right kidney — removed during treatment. At age 4, she was given a clean bill of health, but this past January doctors discovered that the cancer had returned. She’s since undergone two more surgeries, and continues to endure chemotherapy.
“She’s getting several days of really heavy chemo that makes most people really nauseated and really exhausted,” said her doctor at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, Dr. Jennifer Reichek. “The fact that this kid leaves the hospital and goes to dance class is unbelievable.”
Remarkably, just seven weeks after two abdominal surgeries and 10 days after her first round of inpatient chemo, Blaser managed to win the Imagine Dance Challenge with a performance called “Game of Survival” that was choreographed by her sister, Emma. More recently, just 24 hours after finishing another 10 days of chemo she won yet another competition — both as a soloist and in a duet that she performed alongside her sister. At the end of one of her performances, Blaser removes a ribbon that had been wrapped around her body and flings it to the stage.
“It’s supposed to be taking the cancer away from me and fighting it away,” said Blaser.
Watch video of Blaser’s dancing and her interview with CBS News below.
Read the full story at CBS News.