A 14-year-old ovarian cancer survivor is living her dream on stage as the star of The Nutcracker, playing at the San Diego Civic Theater until Christmas Eve.
The aspiring ballerina performed in her first show over the weekend, just one year after cancer took away her dream role of dancing on stage in the classic Christmas season ballet.
At first glance, The Nutcracker is the story of a girl named Clara, who suddenly finds herself caught in a dream surrounded by fear and the unfamiliar until she gathers the courage to fight back.
Since Caitlyn Feddock was a little girl, it’s been her dream to star in The Nutcracker as Clara.
“It's a lot harder than it looks,” Caitlyn says of ballet. “But our job is to make it look easy.”
A year ago ovarian cancer took away that dream. She got the part, but on the night of her first dress rehearsal, instead of dancing on stage, Caitlyn went to the hospital with stomach pains.
“It turned into an emergency surgery for a twisted ovary,” Michele Feddock, Caitlyn’s mother told NBC 7. “We thought it was just going to end with that.”
But that was just the beginning. Caitlyn was robbed of her chance to perform on stage and doctors later diagnosed her with ovarian cancer.
“It was really, really painful, “Caitlyn remembers.
Her parents were shocked.
“It’s not something a parent of a 13 year old daughter would ever expect," Feddock said.
It was a very, very hard time,” Caitlyn said. “But looking back at it, I can now really feel so blessed to have even been able to be here.”
Since June, Caitlyn has spent her time regaining her strength on the dance floor because her words “this part means the world to me.”
Caitlyn has now defied all odds, earning the role as Clara once again this year, and fulfilling her dream on stage.
“Just being able to dance on this beautiful stage is a huge accomplishment. I'm just so excited and so happy," she said.
“What gave my husband and I strength is just watching Caitlyn,” her mom said. “And her amazing strength and her incredible faith that she has. And she has just a joy and love for life. She's just a happy person.”
Caitlyn's cancer is in remission though she still has check-ups every few months to make sure everything is normal. She attributes her recovery and success to her faith, family and friends at the ballet studio.
And this year the enchantment of the Nutcracker at the Civic Theater may just be a little more special.
Caitlyn will be performing in The Nutcracker at the Civic Theater through Christmas Eve.
She will also be at our NBC 7 studios on Friday, for our 6th annual Wishes in Flight Mile-A-Thon.
You can donate your frequent flier miles to raise the 2 million airline miles needed annually, to grant 200 wishes to local kids suffering from terminal illnesses.
For more information, click here.