NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A teenage cancer survivor who danced her way through chemotherapy to stay healthy is now making it a point to boost the spirits of young patients.
Her online encouragement has gone viral.
Striking a pose, 13-year-old Stephanie Consiglio took part in a dance photo challenge in the hospital where she was treated in order to recreate it as a memory of health, instead of illness, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported.
The video captured as many dance moves as possible in under 10 minutes. In just one week, it’s been viewed more than one million times, with thousands of comments.
“People were saying I’m very inspiring, that they look up to me. And I love hearing those kinds of things, because it motivates me to be a better person every single day,” Consiglio told Duddridge.
She was diagnosed with Stage 3 germ cell cancer in 2015. She underwent four months of treatment at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Lake Success.
Dance is what kept her going.
“The doctors still say today that dance saved my life. It’s because I kept my body moving and my blood was going,” Consiglio said.
Also starring in the viral video are young hospital patients fighting a range of illnesses. They’re why local photographer Jordan Matter started the challenge – to not only uplift them, but also their parents.
“To be able to have somebody come to the hospital and bring something different, a change of pace, some joy, it breaks up their day,” Stephanie’s mom Lori Consiglio said.
Recently, Consiglio’s elementary school, P.S. 88 in Ridgewood, honored her with an award. She hopes her dance moves inspire students to take steps toward their goals, like she is.
“I want to be a Rockette so bad,” she said. “It’s my absolute, number one dream.”
She’s on her way. During treatment, she got to train with The Rockettes and this month, she’s taking part in a talent show at Radio City Music Hall.
The local, 10-minute dance challenge videos are released online every Thursday.