EMOTIONAL PHOTOSHOOT FOR DANCER WITH CANCER


(upbeat electronic music) – Whoa my god! This is madness. Hello everyone, a few months ago I went to Cohen Children’s Medical Center to film a 10 minute photo challenge. When I was there, I met a
very inspiring young woman. This is her story. After I was finished
shooting the photo challenge, a nurse told me there was a young woman, a dancer, who was on her
fourth round of chemotherapy and really wanted to meet
me but she was too sick to leave her room. So I went to her. – Hi. – Hi, how are you doing?
– I’m good. You’re very tall.
– I’m tall. Well you’re sitting down though. – Around nine months ago,
I was just going away for my first year of college and the whole time I
was there, I was sick. Eventually it was like I
was fainting in the shower and I’m the type of person
that I’m like oh no, it’s fine, ya know, whatever,
not gonna worry about it. I couldn’t even stand up. I had to tell my mom
to come and pick me up from school ’cause I thought I had mono. So we went to the hospital,
a doctor at St. Joseph’s on Long Island came to the room and it was the disease
doctor and she said, “You know, it’s probably
just mono, you get some “of these side effects
with mono, you’ll probably “be able to leave soon.” As she’s walking out, the
blood doctor walks in and says, “We think it’s leukemia,”
and my mom and I were like, “No, you’re wrong, there’s no way,” we did not, it was like, just denial. From day one I knew I was gonna be okay ’cause that’s just how
I am, I just knew it and I was just more worried
about my family’s reactions and how worried they would be
and stuff and that was hard. – As a parent, it touches
me deeply to see sick kids and I’m struggling to
figure out how exactly to communicate with her. I brought you a book. – A book? – My Dancers Among Us book. – Oh cool, yeah.
– And I wanted to give it to you, okay, I want to sign it for you. – Thank you. – And she has an incredible
amount of strength and determination and I
go from being concerned and nervous to being optimistic
and excited to meet her. And when you’re feeling better enough, I would love to meet up with you and take some real pictures,
does that sound good? – Yes.
– That sounds great. – This picture you sent me on Instagram, that was pretty cool. Do you feel strong enough
to be able to do that kind of thing right now or
are you a little weak? – No I could do that. – Could you?
– Yeah. – And go. This is one of the coolest
photos I maybe have ever taken. – Everyday I was in my hospital room, I dreamed of the beach. – I knew that when we
finally worked together, it had to be at the beach. (upbeat music) – It’s scary, I had hair down
to hair and we had cut it but still to have just pieces
of your hair coming out, it’s scary especially for a girl. So my cousin who went to beauty school, she would come and we
did basically everything that we ever wanted to do to
my hair but were too scared to ’cause I would always dye my
hair, cut it, did fun things so I had purple hair
for a while, pink hair. I had a lot of anxiety
building up to the day that it started to come out and that night was probably
the worst night of my life. The most traumatic part is
when it first starts coming out then we just decided, we’re
like, no, we’re gonna shave it, I’m not gonna deal with seeing
my hair all over the floor and all over the bed so after that, I never cried about it again. Yeah. Chemo is different for every person, every person even if it’s
the same type of cancer, it’s different, exact chemos. I had four rounds but they’re different than most people’s four
round, a lot of people that are getting chemo, a round is a week. For me, it’s months and my last two rounds were called intensification one and two and my second rounds,
I didn’t eat for weeks, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sit up, I couldn’t lift my head, it’s a feeling that I could never
describe, it’s the worst, worst feeling ever really. As soon as I got out of the
hospital, all I wanted to do is go to my dance studio
and train but I couldn’t because I still had no
energy, I was still recovering from the chemo and my doctors
found a clot in my heart which at first we were
nervous about me doing too much physical activity
because if it moves, it can go into my lung or a
different part of the body where, ya know, I wouldn’t
be able to breathe. I had lost all my
muscle, all of my muscle, I couldn’t jump, I couldn’t,
I would try to do things and I would fall, it was
really hard for me at first but I would force myself
to go to the dance studio and even though I’d be
panting and it was so hard, I would still try to spend
at least an hour at a time at the dance studio and learning my dance, finishing my dance and
getting ready to compete. Yeah so nobody really would
say this but nobody thought that I would be ready to
compete but I’ve always been really determined and when
I really want something, I’ll be a pain in the a**
until I get it so yeah, six weeks later, I was
able to compete and I won. It was a good feeling,
it was a good feeling. I usually did pretty well at competition, I didn’t want this to be any different, I didn’t want people to
say I had pity points, I wanted, you know, to
really earn my first place. Once of the best moments
of my whole entire life was being on that stage that time. It was like, I can’t even describe it, it was indescribable, yeah. When people are fighting
cancer, a lot of times, people make shirts and
bracelets and the saying on mine on everything of mine was Aliyah strong. So we even made a poster
and kept it on stage with me when I competed so yeah
it’s a special hashtag. I’m trying to spend as much
time as possible at the beach. As soon as I go in the
water, I never wanna get out and the feeling of the
sun on my skin is probably my favorite feeling in the world. I can’t believe that today
we got to do this finally and come to the beach and
basically do everything that I wanted to do back
a couple months ago. I had no idea what life
would be like a couple months after treatment but I
finally am able to feel like my old self again, I feel
so much better physically. I mean it’s not easy for
me still, a lot of things but I feel so much better
and I, a couple months ago, would never have expected
to feel like that so yeah there is a light at
the end of the tunnel for sure. – If you liked that video,
please give us a thumbs up and make sure to subscribe. Now you know what I did when
I hit a million subscribers, I did a photoshoot in a leotard and tutu. Do you have a crazy idea for two million? If so, leave a comment below and make sure you turn on notifications,
’cause you’re not gonna wanna miss this. Ten minute photo challenge! – Using an iPhone! – Okay, let’s get coffee.

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