I Survived Brain Cancer and Lived to Dance

“When I was three, I was diagnosed with Astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer. I went through treatment and surgery, with very little damage from it. But at age five, the cancer returned and left me blind in my right eye, unable to use my left arm, and with a weaker left leg than right leg.

Being a cancer survivor isn’t something hard to live with. It’s the side effects that make things harder. To this day, people are always staring at me and it makes me feel self-conscious. But, I always loved to dance, so I cheered all throughout high school on a team for disabled boys and girls.

While at my dad’s one night, he asked if I wanted to try the new Zumba game for Xbox 360. Oh my goodness, I fell in love with it! Every time I was at my dad’s, I wanted to turn on the Xbox and dance.

Then, one day, my step-mom invited me to her local Zumba class, taught by Josette Tkacik. I said yes even though I had no idea what to expect except that I wouldn’t know any of the routines. But when I met Josette, I saw the joy that she brought to everyone in her class. After that, the Xbox wasn’t enough for me anymore.

I started going to Josette’s class as often as I could. She even called me up on stage to dance with her during class one day. The energy up there was addicting! It was the best feeling of acceptance I have ever felt, which for somebody with a disability is a huge deal.

I got my license to teach Zumba classes in June of 2016 and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. Not only has the Zumba program made it so that I can dance whenever and wherever I want, but I’ve found a way to teach others to love themselves through dance. I have never felt better than I do after a class.”

– Hillary Corley, 24, licensed Zumba® Instructor; recently taught her first class and is addicted to the positivity.

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