WHEATON – When doctors told Ava Blaser, 11, she wouldn’t be able to dance while undergoing chemotherapy treatments, she wanted to prove them wrong. The Wheaton resident and Wiesbrook Elementary School student continued to dance and choreograph routines with her sister, Wheaton South High School student Emma Blaser, throughout her battle with cancer.
The sisters shared their remarkable story of perseverance and resilience on national television Oct. 8 when they appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The girls danced to Coldplay’s “Fix You” and chatted with DeGeneres, who previously had tweeted she wanted to meet the girls after seeing a clip of them dancing online.
Ava explained on the show that in 2011, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in both kidneys when she was just 3 years old. She underwent radiation, chemotherapy and surgery to remove her left kidney and part of her right kidney.
Ava told DeGeneres she was cancer free for six years after the initial diagnosis, but at her yearly scan this January, doctors found a spot on her partial kidney. Once again, she had to undergo a grueling chemotherapy regimen and surgery to remove the cancer. Ava got good news Sept. 11 when her latest scan was clear.
But through all of her treatments, Ava said she never stopped dancing.
“Dancing made me really happy, and it helps me stay humble and positive throughout this,” Ava told DeGeneres. “It helped distract me while all of this was going on, and it’s a way for me to express my emotions without using any words. I can just dance.”
DeGeneres told Ava she was inspired by her perseverance.
“What a strong girl you are, at 3 years old to start out like that, and to have fought all that, it was really tough, I’m sure,” DeGeneres said. “It’s so great that you do that. You’re going to be an inspiration for other kids out there. You are a fighter.”
Emma said she continued to dance with Ava throughout her illness and she stood by her during her treatments.
“We’re best friends. I go down for all her scans and treatments,” Emma said. “We have a relationship that’s really different than other siblings, I think."
The sisters got a wonderful surprise while on the show when DeGeneres' DJ and hip hop dancer, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, gave the girls VIP tickets to a “So You Think You Can Dance” show tour.
And to top it off, Shutterfly presented Ava and Emma with two $20,000 checks to help the family pay for the girls’ college tuition.