Name: Marissa Johnson
Age: 17
Dance Studio: Jan’s Dance Studio, Illinois
Why Marissa wants to be a voice for children fighting cancer:

No person should have to hear the words “you have cancer” or deal with its devastating effects, but when a child has cancer, it generates a new level of heartbreak and you wonder how and why this could happen to an innocent boy or girl. This was how I felt when my dance friend and student, Susan, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Susan was a normal, happy little girl who loved pink nail polish, dressing up, softball and dance. Determined to celebrate her 10th birthday, Susan passed a month after in August of 2013. Somehow through the pain, treatments, hair and weight loss, Susan remained positive and happy. Whenever I came to visit her in the hospital, she had a smile on her face and we hugged and talked as if she didn’t have a care in the world. She especially stayed strong in her faith and was excited to meet God. Susan taught me that adversity is only as powerful as you allow it to be and no matter how much you suffer now, it can’t compare to the perfection of heaven. I’ve always had a passion for dance and a special love for children and I feel as a Dance Love Hope ambassador I can continue both on a worthy platform. I want to share Susan’s lessons and keep her legacy alive and as a Dance Hope Cure Ambassador, I am determined to help all cancer victims, especially children learn that it’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.