A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘dance’

Hope Tour– Long, Winding Road as we Dance to the Music


Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery




“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” 

― George Harrison



If I had to choose the most spectacular drive of our Make-A-Wish Hope Tour, it would also be the day of our longest drive. It would have to be our drive from Salt Lake City to the Grand Canyon, a fourteen-hour day on the road. We left Salt Lake City early in the morning, with Herbert The HopeMobile loaded down with our freshly cleaned clothes. Mom and I were excited– really, really excited to see what wonders of nature were waiting for us to explore!

Although Bryce Canyon was a bit out of our way, there was no way we could drive past the sign pointing to the side road without turning. Mom had been there with her family when she was a teenager, and she had told me about the spectacular beauty. As we climbed out of the car and headed up a hill for our first view of the canyon, I had no idea what awaited me on the crest of the hill. It took awhile to fully comprehend that what I was looking at was real!

Bryce Canyon on Make-A-Wish Hope Tour

I watched the teeny-tiny-sized people hiking in the canyon below and wished we had more time here. I felt teeny-tiny. I felt like the whole entire world was spread out before my eyes to behold. I felt blessed to be standing there looking at a sight that appeared way too special to be viewed by mere human eyes.

Can You Hear the Music?





“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” Nietzsche

A dear friend sent me this quote. I love it on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin telling you how much I love it! Taken literally, it is a gorgeous way of explaining why dancers dance. Not only do dancers “hear the music,” but we need to dance when we hear it. Taken figuratively, this quote is a beautiful explanation for why there are growing numbers of people joining together to stop childhood cancer. They are people who “hear the music.” They are people who hear the call to “dance.” It makes no difference what type of “dance” they do, whether it is ballet, modern, lyrical, hip-hop, or jazz, as long as they “dance to the music.”

One extraordinary example of this is 46 Mommas. Someone with little or no understanding about the great need for childhood cancer research would look at these women who shave their heads to raise money for this cause and think that they were “quite insane.” Those who “hear the music” know that these women are not only much more deeply connected to it than the rest of us, but they are “dancing” as gracefully as they can to “the music.” These women who have a very personal connection to childhood cancer also have a clear understanding of the great need for swift, strong action. Their selfless “dance” — raising money by shaving their heads– helps those who are currently “deaf” to hear. It turns The Unaware into The Aware. Thank you to all of the “Mommas,” and to one “Sister,” Leah Mireles, for Shaving for the Brave and for raising money for St. Baldrick’s and childhood cancer research!

Road to the Grand Canyon

The Glory of Nature on the Hope Tour

Dancing With Love for The Children

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dance, dance, and more dance filled my day today… you know how happy that makes me! We (Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo) are rehearsing for our Spring Gala Performance.

Every time my body moves to music, I remember how I felt inside when I was physically unable to dance. It’s a memory that makes me overcome with not sadness, but with overwhelming appreciation that I am able to once again do what I love to do. Even though nearly four years have passed since my cancer treatment, my gratitude has not faded; it has grown.

As I celebrate my ability to move, I cannot help but think of children who are in the middle of their fight with cancer. How can I move through space to beautiful music and not notice there are others who cannot?


Today, I think of Trey

“Okay for those that believe in the power of prayer, I could really use your help … Please Pray ♥!! I’m still not feeling good :(. Running a fever and had night terrors … Please pray that it’s just a normal kid sickyness … please! Below is my Mommy’s post from last night :(. Please pray for strength and peace for her and Daddy too.”
“Afraid to fall asleep. I can’t sleep when he’s “healthy” …afraid if I go to sleep I may never see him again. He keeps waking about every 40mins with a 20 min long night terror. God please just grant us a break.”


I think of Alyssa



I leave you with an opportunity to be an advocate for children with cancer. All you have to do is click away!

Pablove Foundation

“For every new “Like” Content Chemics will donate $1 to The Pablove Foundation. What are you waiting for?”

Thinking of Alyssa


Penn State Dance Marathon and a Boy Named Kyle

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Wow, wow, wow!

The Penn State Dance Marathon (THON.org) has raised $10,686,924.83 for pediatric cancer research!

THON.org is the largest student-run philanthropy on this Earth. The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon raises funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. In 1973, a group of students held their very first dance marathon; the 39 couples who participated raised $2,000. Now, THON has over 700 dancers, 15,000 student volunteers, and it has raised more than $78 million to benefit The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.


THON is a shining example for all of us who work to stop childhood cancer. I absolutely love to see and hear about young people caring about others. Truly, I wish children would learn more about philanthropy in school when they are very young. I wish they could have many opportunities before them to think of others and to learn altruism. Teaching children to care for others gives them a unique dose of gratitude for their own lives—it teaches them they are a person of worth because they have something to give.

What a concept, right? Because they give, they have a special value. A person’s value does not come from what they “have,” but from what they “give.”

To the THON dancers and volunteers, thank you! You have given more than your time, effort and money. You have inspired us, encouraged us, and lit a path for us to follow.

And now, I need to tell you about a boy named Kyle. Kyle is four years old; he needs a bone marrow transplant, and his family is desperately seeking a donor. They have created this site to help find one…

Could it be you?


One little cheek swab will let you know if you are a match.

Let’s spread the word and help save Kyle’s life.

Kyle Needs All of Us




Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer And Recovery

Today, and every day, I wake thinking of the children still fighting their cancer battle.  I think of all the families thrust into the nightmare. My heart breaks for the families who have lost their child.  I share their sorrow and their grief, and I swear I will do everything I can to help stop childhood cancer— stop the suffering and great, great loss.

 As a survivor, there are no Earthly words to express my gratitude for life.  What I know is that it hurts to share in the suffering of others.  I understand why people need to turn away, because the truth is so painful that it strips away every single barnacle off your heart until it is barren and exposed.  This “exposure” is good for us, I think in some ways.  It brings us to the core of who we are and why we are here.  It makes us truly appreciate the love we have in our lives and makes us grateful people. It makes us giving people.

 During treatment, there were times I wondered if I would ever be able to dance again…

 I will always remember exactly how that pain felt—to not be able to dance— and to be truthful, it hurts my heart to even imagine it now.

 Today, as I share the pain of others, I will also rejoice in the extreme gratitude I will always have because I am able to dance!!!!!!!!

 From Grace:

 “The tribal-like music blared, and my body strained to do the movements. I was actually doing it . . . what I thought was entirely impossible . . . I was dancing. On the brink of crying out of joy, I was distracted by the intense concentration it took to make my body do what I begged it to accomplish. Tuesday was modern class, and my bald head had an almost internal glow under the dim lights.

I felt horrible. My vision was fuzzy, my legs were weaker than twigs, and my back moaned with the intense pain of the Neupogen shots. But somehow I kept going. As long as the music was playing, it carried me, supported me. I didn’t think. The music and my spirit guided my body through every single step.

The most amazing feeling on Earth is when I am just dancing, not thinking, stressing, or trying too hard to control the movements. It was happiness, and my love for dance, that moved me and kept me going. Experiencing a new, powerful connection with the melodic beat of the song, I felt like I was in a dream… it was too good to be true. Having virtually no coordination, God moved me, like His little puppet. Somehow managing to make my fragile body appear graceful, I danced in honor of life and Him.”

                        Copyright 2010 Melinda Marchiano Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

May 2011 Nipomo High School Dance Company

“Held” by Natalie Grant, choreographed by Melinda (I hope you enjoy the dance!)


Have I told you before how much I love dance???????????????? 

Posing by Statue Ballerina on the Children's Hospital Hope Tour

Colored Hands for Brodie

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer And Recovery

Welcome to the month of May.  Is it just me, or is time moving at warp-speed?  I love May!  May is springtime and flowers and dance performances.

Mr. Boot has made his exit from my life. Bye Mr. Boot!

Heeeeeeeeeeellooooooo dance studio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you feeling “spring-y” and wanting some fun? Want to help a young boy with cancer at the same time?  I love this idea from Sherry, who wants to help a four year-old boy who is battling a brain tumor. The boy’s name is Brodie, and Brodie likes to draw on himself. (Is it just me, or does this totally endear him?!) If you enjoy drawing on yourself—or even if you do not—this is a prime opportunity to put a smile in the heart of a boy who is in the midst of his battle with cancer. What do you say we get out the markers, write a message on our hands to Brodie, take photos of our brilliant artwork and email it to gobrodie@me.com ?

While you are wracking your brain for that creative saying (or dull- it doesn’t matter!) to write on your hands, I will pass on inspirational news, in case you have not yet heard:

St. Baldrick’s had their biggest fundraising year yet!


I hope this serves as motivation for everyone fighting childhood cancer, both individuals and organizations. The only way we will win the war against childhood cancer is through cooperation.  The more we communicate and share information, the fewer “dark, sinister alleys” there are for cancer to hide out in. The way my mom envisions it is like a game she used to play when she was little called Red Rover. Neighborhood kids would choose two teams. The teams would link arms (not just hold hands, but link arms because the bond was stronger) and then call over someone from the other team to try to run through to break the bond. If the person couldn’t break through, then they had to join the other team. Let’s use the Linking Arms/Red Rover concept to destroy childhood cancer.

Cancer will end up on a team all by itself—a Loser!

Please link, link, link.  Let’s make it so that cancer will have nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide. It’s sometimes easy to become discouraged… especially when we hear news of another child lost. This time, the child is Nick.  I ask you for prayers for his family. 

I ask you to wash away every bit of discouragement and replace it with a fire of hope.

When you send your photo to Brodie, remember that your action is so much more than what your mind measures it to be. When you give your time or your resources to fight childhood cancer, please remember it is so much more than your one act.

You are a crucial element of the united bond that will make change.

Makes life worth living, doesn’t it?

Kick Butt Brodie


Facebook/Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer Recovery


I am happily dancing six days a week, and each day as I travel to dance, and as I am dancing, I remember when I wanted to dance, but my body wouldn’t let me.  I will never forget.  I will always, always be grateful that my body is willing and able to dance!  Yes… dance!

 From Grace:

“I had danced equivalent to how I danced at age three, and every single step was pretty much a disgrace to the dance world.  But the joy that came from those hideous few steps was a kind of happiness that came only from dancing.”

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