The little girl sits in a hospital room. 

She lives here. In this bed. In this university hospital. She lives in this gown. She usually plays on her iPad. All by herself. This is her life. 

She’s been sad lately. 

“A lot of people don’t think about the mental health of a dying child,” said the girl’s mother. “But when you’re a kid, and a doctor tells you that you’re dying, it screws you up.” 

The child is 10 years old. Her beautiful head is smooth and bald. The cancer has stolen one of her eyes. The surgeon removed her eyeball recently in an operation called enucleation. 

If you want to have your heart ripped out, talk to a kid who has undergone enucleation. 

She is brave, yes. She is a fighter, absolutely. But even heroes get blue sometimes. She is, after all, human. 

Cancer treatment sucks. Treatment has ruined her social life. Treatment has destroyed her childhood. Some days, the girl barely has the energy to breathe. 

But she still wants to be a kid. Her little brain still says: “Hey! You’re 10 years old! Go be a kid! Run around and play!” But her body says no. 

And all this makes her sad. She is a living science project. She lives from medication to medication. Her face is puffy from endless treatments. Her energy levels are often non-existent. 

Enter the nurses. 

“We wanted to do something that would make her smile,” said one nurse, who shall also remain nameless — although if, perchance, we were to give this RN an actual name, we might call this nurse Angela. 

Angela brings her Bluetooth speaker into the child’s room. Angela and four other nurses have dance parties for the child. These nurses perform serious dance routines with complicated parts and intricate steps. 

“We don’t dance easy routines,” Angela said. “I actually have to watch videos and practice at home, and my husband’s like, ‘Um, what are you doing?’”

The first night they did this, four ordinary RNs entered the girl’s room, wearing ordinary scrubs, and they danced. The music blared, and the nurses executed a series of choreographed moves that got everyone’s heart rates up. 

“It’s good cardio,” remarks one nurse. “I’ve lost, like, two pounds already.”

That first night the little girl started going crazy. She wanted to learn the dance. She began applauding and shouting, “Teach me!” 

So nurses stood the child up in bed, holding her tiny body for support — a lawsuit waiting to happen. And the nurses taught the child to dance. 

Soon, the girl was shaking her tail feathers like a pro. And more importantly, the kid was laughing. 

“I started to cry,” Angela said. “When I heard her laugh, I just lost it. I was like, ‘You’re doing it, sweetheart! You’re dancing!’”

Another nurse said “When you see a little girl who’s dying work up the drive to start dancing, it does something to you.” 

The dance party went so well the nurses decided to do it again in the rooms of other child patients. The sick little girl joins them each time. She never misses a dance-off.

“This girl is my hero,” one nurse said. 

So right now, as you read this, a 10-year-old is dancing in an anonymous university hospital, somewhere in the U.S. 

She is bald, half blind, weak and gaunt. But she does the Funky Chicken in the rooms of fellow patients to cheer them. To make them smile. To lift their hearts. 

She dances although her energy is low. She dances despite her sinking spirits. Dancing has become the highlight of her day. 

When asked why she chooses to accompany these nurses on nightly dance-a-thons, the girl replies with a laugh: 

“Because I’m still here.” 

I cannot add anything to this child’s immaculate words. So I won’t even try.