Recently, Gila Ridge High School student and avid dancer Kate Campa, who last year was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, appeared in a video along with actress and singer Olivia Newton-John promoting cancer awareness.
In the PSA, made for the organization Dancers Against Cancer, Kate appeared alongside Newton-John — who in 2017 revealed that she had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — and two other dancers, telling her story.
She said that last year, before her freshman year at Gila Ridge, she began to have back pain. After “physical training” failed to correct the pain, she said that her doctor recommended an MRI.
The MRI came back along with a referral to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and after more tests, doctors diagnosed Campa with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that affects about 10 in 1 million people in their teens.
Campa said that she first had contact with Dancers Against Cancer when they provided her a check during a dancing event to help with her medical costs. After a while, they contacted her and her family about the proposition of flying out to Los Angeles to appear in the video.
Though she didn’t get to meet Newton-John, Campa said that the experience “was really fun.
“I met the directors and stuff and they were all really nice,” she said. “And I met all these girls, and they were all really sweet.”
Though Campa’s battle with cancer may have sidetracked her, she said that dancing and the community that surrounds it has been a big help during the past year.
“Since I’ve been doing dance, it’s always been a fun thing for me and I’ve met so many close friends of mine (through it),” she said. “And dance has always been a part of my life.”
Campa’s mother said through the recent challenges her daughter has faced, she has used the “competitive aspect of dance” to help drive her forward.
“It’s like a competition for herself, a competition to win the fight (against cancer),” said Lilian Campa.
And what she said has surprised her most over the past year is her daughter’s “faith and her strength” in the face of cancer.
Since Campa’s diagnosis, the Yuma community has also rallied around her under the banner of “Team Kate,” and there have been a number of events aimed at raising money for her medical costs.
Lilian Campa said, though, that what she also appreciates is the prayers of those around Yuma.
“But I would also say that the fundraising that they have done for us as a family has been great,” she said. “Obviously, it’s an expensive treatment.
“...It’s not something easy, when you have to drive miles from point A to point B just for your kid to get treatment.”
Campa returned from Phoenix after finishing all of her chemo cycles and is home now. According to her doctors, everything is looking good.
And on the road ahead, Campa said that she’s always “going to keep faith.”
“I have such a great support system and a great supportive community in Yuma,” she said.
To view Campa in the video she appeared in for Dancers Against Cancer, go to bit.ly/2YVXTV9. And for more information on how to help the Campa family in their fight against cancer, visit Team Kate’s facebook page at facebook.com/teamkatecampa.