Ten-year-old Ava Blaser refuses to let her cancer diagnosis get the best of her and stop her from doing what she loves most. Blaser has inspired many not only with her battle with cancer, but her passion for dance and refusal to give up.
The young dancer was first diagnosed with Stage 5 Bilateral Wilms (a form of kidney cancer that affects both kidneys) at age three, which resulted in her left kidney being removed and eventually being declared cancer-free in 2012.
Unfortunately, this remission was only temporary for Blaser. After a six year remission period, her cancer returned this past January. Because of this, Blaser underwent two operations and is currently undergoing a round of chemotherapy.
But even with her cancer diagnosis, Blaser still challenges herself to attend dance practice after receiving treatment.
Dr. Jennifer Reichek, Blaser’s doctor at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, is amazed by the young dancer’s tenacity, especially considering the nature of the treatments she is undergoing.
“She’s getting several days of really heavy chemo that makes most people really nauseated and really exhausted. The fact that this kid leaves the hospital and goes to dance class is unbelievable,” she stated.
When Blaser was asked how she manages both her diagnosis and her passion for dance, she answered, “I just kind of push myself.”
Blaser doesn’t just attend dance classes either. She actively participates in competitions, where she performs routines inspired by her battle with cancer.
Three weeks after an operation, Blaser won a dance competition. In May, she won yet another alongside her sister, Emma. In between chemo sessions, Blaser attended a different competition for which she travelled to Hollywood.
Though her dance routine is beautiful throughout, the most stunning aspect is the personal ending Blaser incorporated. At the end of the routine, she pulls off a ribbon that was attached to her costume. According to Blaser, this signifies the eventual win she is confident she will have over cancer.
Blaser’s doctors believe her cancer is curable, and her parents are hoping for the best as well.
“I expect the best outcome, but I have to let her live her life,” Ava’s mother, Angie, stated.
Blaser’s success doesn’t stop at dance competitions. The dancer is a part of Club Five, which is a group of models for Five Dancewear.
Additionally, she recently had the opportunity to perform and speak with her sister at CureFest for Childhood Cancer in Washington, D.C. this past September. Through fundraising, Blaser was able to attend the event and deliver a speech about her cancer diagnosis and how dance has carried her through it.
Blaser’s battle with cancer has inspired her doctors, family, and all those cheering her on along the way. Never letting her battle overcome her, Blaser amazes all when she twirls and leaps on stage, and especially reminds viewers of the hope she has by leaving her ribbon on the stage.
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