PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A little girl from Tampa Bay who is battling cancer had one wish: to dance with Diddy.
Campbell Park Elementary fifth-grader Imani Hollis and a group of other children who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses were recently on the Ellen Show. Their appearance came after they went viral for posting a video dancing to Diddy’s 2001 hit “Bad Boys for Life.”
The online campaign to raise awareness of childhood cancer was created by a nonprofit called Fighting All Monsters, or FAM.
“Bad Boys for Life” has become the nonprofit’s unofficial anthem.
Hollis and other FAM members appeared on Ellen on Thursday, Feb. 20. The group told host Ellen DeGeneres their wish was to dance with the music mogul himself.
In true Ellen fashion, she gave the children the surprise of a lifetime: Diddy walked out on stage to dance with the kids.
“I am so happy they got to have this once in a lifetime experience,” Hollis’ mother Temeika Reynolds said. “Ellen heard their story and I am grateful for Puff Daddy for acknowledging that these kids used his song and words for how they are living their lives now.”
Ellen also gave the Fighting All Monsters foundation a $25,000 donation, courtesy of Shutterfly.
Reynolds says Hollis was diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma brain stem tumors in 2013. Hollis, who is now 11, currently has several brain tumors and has lost some of her ability to talk and walk. The young girl also suffers from memory loss.
“In the beginning we didn’t know what was going to happen. It wasn’t looking good at all. She completed chemotherapy numerous times,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds tells 8 On Your Side that, while her daughter’s recent television appearance was exciting, she believes it could also potentially change the way the world views childhood cancer.
“You don’t hear much about pediatric cancers, not as much as you should. There are so many kids affected by it. I am glad that it is being more acknowledged now and it is being made a bigger deal than what it was,” she said.
Despite Hollis’ prognosis, her mother says she is determined to attend school regularly.
“I have had many adults here tell me she is their inspiration. When they are feeling down, they think of Imani. If Imani can come to school with a smile on her face, then they can do that. She teaches us don’t give up, keep working, ask for help when you need it,” said Teresa Armstrong, a special education teacher at Campbell Park Elementary.
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