Fourteen-year-old Allie Allen's battle with cancer has not stopped her from doing the thing she loves most. The Collierville teen's a dancer and not even a seizure stopped her from her biggest competition day.
With long hair, long eye lashes, an infectious smile and laugh, it's tough to tell that Allie is sick.
But as the 14-year-old gets the chance to meet American Idol Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery at a concert in Tunica, this experience is anything but ordinary for Allie or Scotty.
"People like Allie inspire me and getting to see how strong she is through all of this," McCreary said. "It really puts things in perspective."
With her best friend Olivia by her side, and a cheering section of her mother's friends this backstage meeting is a celebration of Allie's life, which changed dramatically in January.
"I would get in this blank stare and not recognize what's going on around me," Allie recalled. " After that, I'd have headaches or heat flashes."
Allie's mom, Debbi Allen knew the blank stares were serious when they started affecting Allie's dance team routines at school.
"She said, 'I had one of those episodes during the pep rally tonight and I forgot my dance routine,'" Debbi said.
Debbi took Allie to the doctor, with tests revealing something they had never imagined.
"January 22 is when she had her MRI and they called saying there was a tumor," Allie's mother said.
The tumor was the size of a golf ball and perfectly round. With the understanding it was most-likely benign, Allie was more concerned about her upcoming competition as part of the Schilling Farms Middle School dance team.
"It really didn't hit me because I was getting ready to go to nationals," Allie said. "So I was so focused on that."
Just days after finding out about her tumor with the doctor's permission, Allie traveled with her team to nationals in Orlando. The team made it through to the finals for their hip-hop routine.
"Before we went on stage, I had one of those blank stares," Allie recalled. "After, I felt fine and then my nose started bleeding."
Suffering from a seizure just moments before hitting the stage, Allie competed anyway, and nailed it!
"It was like she almost became a character out there, because before getting on stage she was zoned out and it's like she became a character," Debbi said. "As soon as the music stopped, she just collapsed."
"I was so nervous. Afterwards, I was so glad it was over," Allie said.
Her team took home the national dance team hip-hop title, giving Allie the coveted white jacket of dance! It's what every dance team girl dreams about, but the celebration of Allie's brave performance didn't last long.
"On Valentine's Day, that's when I had my surgery," Allie said.
February 14, Allie's family packed in a waiting room at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, expecting to hear good news about her tumor.
"When we got the news that they thought they got everything and they were closing her up, we were cheering," Debbi said. "Little did we know 15 minutes later, the doctor had a meeting in the room with us and he said it was a highly-malignant tumor."
Worried about how Allie would take the news so soon after surgery, her family decided to wait a few days to tell her.
"I was still on a lot of medicine, so it was really hard to understand," Allie said.
After hearing the news about the tumor, Allie's tears didn't last long. As the initial shock wore off, her attention, once again turned to dance, with that "oh-so-important" white jacket serving as inspiration to keep fighting.
"I hung it up in the hospital room, but I wouldn't let anyone touch it," she said.
After 33 weeks of radiation treatments, Allie's family is doing a dance that seems like a very slow one; the waiting game to see if the cancer has come back. But they know no matter what's ahead, Allie will take it with the grace of a dancer.
"Mom, stop!," Allie said.
"What did I do?," Debbi said. "It's a good thing. I'm proud of you."
Allie tried out for the Houston High School dance team just a few weeks ago and made the team, despite suffering with side effects from her radiation treatments and medication.
She will go to the doctor to find out if the cancer is gone on June 6.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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