This Woman Dancing to Support Her Sister's Battle With Cancer Will Make You Laugh and Cry
By John Boone
Is there an official Sister of the Year award? If so, we have the winner.
Jennifer LaFace of Pittsburgh, Pa. went viral this week after she posted a Facebook video (kind of) doing “The Dougie” for her sister, who is battling cancer: “Today is round seven of chemo and I chose ‘Teach Me How to Dougie,’” Jenn says in the video. “Not that I’m very good at the dance. I just do my own kind of dance to it. Because I am not a follower, I am the leader of my own weird band.”
The video is also very moving. Towards the end, Jennifer stops dancing and cheers her sister on, saying, “You’re going to kick cancer’s ass today, because you’re a badass sister...I love you, I adore you, I admire you. Later, gator!”
That sister is Colleen Madeya, who lives in Chicago and is fighting stage four ovarian cancer. But Jenn told ETonline Colleen’s cancer hasn’t changed her personality: “Seriously, she is the most upbeat person ever.”
“I’m falling apart as her little sister and crying all the time,” Jenn told us. “And she holds it together. She’s like, ‘I have my game face on. I’m going to beat this and crying over it is not going to get me anywhere. I have to stay positive.’”
What inspired the dancing video? “She’s my sister, she’s someone I’ve looked up to, she’s my first friend, she’s my first person,” Jenn explained. “When her and I were younger, we wanted to dance on a TV show [Solid Gold]. She loves dance, loves music, so I thought, what other ways can I make my sister laugh and smile? I’ll send her a video. Whitney Houston's ‘I Want to Dance With Somebody’ came on and I just had my friend hold my iPad up and have me do my best ‘80s dance moves in my living room.”
And the dancing was apparently contagious: “She had them dancing her into surgery, all her doctors even danced in the surgery room. She and her husband do a video on the way to chemo of them singing and dancing in the car, and my comeback is my video to them...She laughs! She cries! All the emotions. She loves them!”
So the videos continued! Yesterday wasn’t a chemo day, but it was Colleen’s birthday, and Jenn made her another video, where she dances to 50 Cent and Selena Gomez and gives Colleen a little birthday twerking:
That first “Dougie” video has been viewed over five million times and shared hundreds of thousands of times. “I had no clue, I was wondering why all these people were sending me Friend requests,” Jenn says of going viral. “I was in New York over the weekend shopping for my wedding dress and I thought someone hacked my Facebook.”
“The next morning I had a couple emails that said, ‘Oh my god! You know you went viral,’” she continued. “And I’m like, ‘Whatever, you guys are pulling my leg.’ I just think it’s crazy. It’s overwhelming.”
“There were [comments] some that I read at the beginning and I just broke down and cried seeing these people that don’t have someone to make them laugh, or thanking me for putting a smile on their face, saying they’re praying for my sister. That’s the overwhelming part right there.”
As for Colleen: “She say, ‘I am at a loss for words and that never happens for me!’” Today will be Colleen’s eight round of chemo and we wish her nothing but the best. And plenty more dance parties!
Now, check out which stars are also stepping out to "Stand Up to Cancer":