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Win a House and Help a Child... like this ballet dancer and brain cancer survivor

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 1:28 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The money raised from this year’s Norton Children’s Hospital Raffle and Snow Ball will benefit Norton Children’s Cancer Institute. It is one of the oldest oncology programs in the United States.

Working with providers from UofL Physicians, they help save lives like that of 17-year-old Jennah Blair.

Jennah just finished radiation on September 10 after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

“I was scared, but knew I was in good hands,” Jennah said.

This followed four cycles of chemotherapy, all performed at Norton Children’s Cancer Institute.

Her cancer story starts just five months earlier. Jennah had migraines. Her mother, a nurse, took her to Norton Children’s Hospital where the medical team did an MRI.

“They said you need to put her in an ambulance,” Jennah’s mom Jill Blair said. “Go downtown for emergency surgery. That was scary.”

The surgery relieved the pressure in her brain, but three tumors were found. A biopsy determined it was cancer.

“When it happens to your child, you come out of nurse mode and you’re just Mom,” Blair said.

After the surgery on April 12, Jennah was in the hospital for ten days. She had short term memory loss and temporary paralysis on her left side.

The concern for this lifelong dancer was an upcoming production of Peter Pan at the Louisville Academy of Fine Arts. She had been cast as Wendy.

The medical staff did what they could do help.

“They set me up with physical therapists that were dancers,” Jennah said. “So they knew that they would talk to me about dance and have me teach them things just to connect.”

Opening night for the production was less than a month after surgery.

“But we had masks on,” Jennah said. “The girl who played Peter Pan was on stage with me whole time. She was able to give me hints as we went through.”

Jenna performed on stage beautifully.

“I’ve never been so proud of all the students and how they helped her,” Julie McWilliams, owner of Louisville Academy of Fine Arts said. “They would come to me and say, ‘We’re going to change this and do this.’”

Now, Jennah is back to practicing in the studio. She’s cancer free, thanks to the help from Norton Children’s Hospital.

“I’ll be forever grateful to them,” Jennah said.

Jennah has been cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Louisville Academy of Fine Arts upcoming Nutcracker production. She said it’s her dream come true. Some of her doctors and nurses plan to be there to watch her.

To buy raffle tickets, click here.

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