Veteran Rockette and cancer survivor inspires young dancers with cancer

Saturday, December 10, 2016
Radio City Rockette cancer survivor inspires young dancers
Amy Freeze has the story

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Many little girls dream of being a Radio City Rockette, but some young dancers facing the challenge of cancer might have questioned their chance to make it to the big stage until now.

The "Garden of Dreams Foundation" introduced young patients and survivors to a real Rockette that faced the same battle this year.

Alyssa Epstein met with dozens of young cancer patients who hope to make it to the Radio City stage one day.

"It's my dream to be a Rockette, and she's a Rockette and she had cancer," said Stephanie Consiglio, a 12-year-old cancer patient. "I know exactly what she felt and went through."

Less than a year ago, the veteran Rockette was diagnosed with breast cancer. She wondered if she would ever return to the show.

"There's so many unanswered questions when you're given a cancer diagnose," Epstein said. "I didn't know what the next day or the next month or the next year of my life was really going to bring me."

With the support of her fellow dancers, she made it through chemo therapy, surgery and rehab. She told the "Garden of Dreams Foundation" she was ready to dance with those who needed her.

"Dance is my passion and it's my love," Epstein said, "and I want nothing more than to bring a smile to a kid's face that may be going through a rough time in their life."

Kids like Caroline Watters were inspired by the eight counts and high kicks that the Rockettes do 300 times every show!

"We all have those doubts at some point," Watters said. "We all go through tough struggles and experiences."

"I got to learn how to do the kicks which was a goal of mine," Consiglio said. "Now I know how to do them."

The lesson was more than a new routine. It was the dance of a lifetime and a chance for those young patients to perform knowing anything is possible no matter what the obstacles are, including cancer.

"'Garden of Dreams' really shows us like we'll get past that," Watters said, "and then gives us this new hope and all these amazing experiences. Honestly, I'm so blessed to be a part of it.