Name: Elizabeth Weidner
Dance Studio: Jansen’s Dance Studio, IL
Why Elizabeth wants to be a voice for children fighting cancer:
DANCE.HOPE.CURE. Those three words, have more meaning to me than most could understand!
Twenty-six months ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, High Risk at the uncommon age of 12…at the time of diagnosis it was estimated I had 95% total body involvement with cancer on my bones, in my marrow and a tumor wrapped around major organs, and vessels. For months the fatigue and pain I endured weren’t from an incorrect diagnosis of an athletic injury, but instead from a monster growing inside of me! I did what all athletes did, I pushed the pain aside and kept dancing because dance is my PASSION.
When my Dad told me that I had cancer, the slow realization began to creep into my head what it meant…or at least what I thought it meant. I was in the middle of preparing for regional dance competitions, working with my team and my own solo…was this the end of my dance career? He couldn’t answer those questions when really my parents couldn’t even answer whether I would make it to the next week, let alone a dance competition. I endured months of therapies, only getting into the studio once before my resection surgery…it would be another 13 months before I would see the inside of the dance studio again. However, my dance team never left my side, my coach traveled to the hospital, when I could I would travel with a fellow dance Mom/Nurse to watch my team compete plotting for the day that I too would return to the dance studio.
To me, it wasn’t a matter of “if” it was a matter of “when” as I never lost focus on the prize…aside from my health…dance is what kept me going! Without dance, I wouldn’t be here today…this is not just my opinion, but a fact that multiple doctors have verified! Dance is what strengthen’s me, motivates me and moves me! I survive each day with NB living inside me, and I prove to all whose lives I touch that life isn’t over at the time of diagnosis, in fact, it’s a rebirth brought on by my love and passion for dance! I’ve had some incredible opportunities dancing for Pedal the Cause (St. Louis), Friends of Kids with Cancer, the American Cancer Society to name a few starting at the grassroots level to change the face of Childhood Cancer! Skills that once came easily, have been challenged, but I won’t back down! I have the ability to reach out to dancer’s across the U.S. some may very well be in their own fight, to motivate them in the same way I have been motivated.