In one of the most heartfelt You Tube videos I’ve watched this year, a Toronto teenager dying of inoperable brain cancer delivers a poignant rendition of Katy Perry’s “Roar” while sitting in a wheelchair.
With the help of the Make a Wish Foundation, Chai Lifeline Canada and the Sick Kids Foundation, 16-year-old Olivia Wise was invited to a Toronto recording studio in September and delivered a passionate and admirable performance of “Roar”, despite her severely weakened condition. Appearing to gain strength through Katy Perry’s lyrics, which includes “you held me down, but I got up” and “cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar”, young Oliva courageously made it through the recording session, with her mother, sister and sound engineers offering support and cheering her on.
For almost two years, Oliva Wise has been battling a rare form of brain cancer, first diagnosed after she had a seizure while on a family vacation in Florida. Only just recently, she was forced to discontinue her studies from school, due to increasing weakness and notes from her You Tube video suggest she can no longer walk or stand, amid a rapidly deteriorating condition. However her spirit has not diminished.
Published a few weeks ago on You Tube, the video eventually got the attention of Katy Perry herself, who responded by posting a You Tube message to Olivia, telling the teenager she sounded great and “I love you, a lot of people love you, that’s why your video got to me and it moved everyone who saw it”.
It certainly me moved me as well and like Olivia Wise, I’m a fan of Katy Perry’s music, although the contemporary pop scene is far removed from my generation. Not surprisingly, the video went viral and since Halloween has more than doubled its You Tube visits, gaining more than 250,000 views just today, along with more than 14,000 thumbs up and 2,850 comments.
“Roar” is currently No. 2 on the Billboard Top 100 singles and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200. Although initially panned by critics, PETA and banned by fans of the NFL team Cincinnati Bengals, “Roar” is Katy Perry’s eighth No. 1 single on Billboard, which includes other memorable songs like “California Gurls”, “I Kissed a Girl” and “Firework”.
Music has long been the source of inspiration for millions of people all over the world. While young Olivia Wise continues to live with inoperable brain cancer, like the lyrics “roar” out, she is “a champion” and her own personal music video may provide a source of strength to herself and others seeking a source of inspiration and courage. My prayers go out to Oliva Wise, her family and her ever increasing circle of friends.
To donate to the Liv Wise fund, please use this link to the Sick Kids Foundation.