Houston residents Maria Ortega and Hattie Horn didn’t know each other until recently. Both were diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago and both say they are now beating the disease.
Saturday they joined more than 100 women for a celebration dance at the Galleria. This is how it sounded as unknowing shoppers looked on.
That’s not a Karaoke singer. The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation paid for singer Gloria Gaynor to fly out from New Jersey to sing the song. Like the women, Gaynor’s life has also been touched by cancer.
“My mother died of cancer, of lung cancer. My brother had melanoma and his wife had breast cancer, and I have another dear friend who had breast cancer.”
For Ortega, Horn and even the director of the foundation Lester Smith, the words of Gaynor’s song have special meaning. They see it as their anthem, their theme song.
“I believe and I keep hoping that we will find a cure for this. So that dance to me meant, I have a beautiful teenage daughter. I want to see her get married I want to see my grandchildren.”
“You know this song was written a long time ago. But it’s still relevant today. And it’s about more than just surviving its being alive. And you’re being with people who are not just surviving but we’re living. We’re living in the present and you take it one day at a time.”
Gaynor’s song from the 70’s is a big hit these days at Karaoke bars. But it means a lot to her to know that it’s providing strength and hope to so many people.
“It makes me feel great if the song is giving them hope and encouragement and empowerment. It makes me feel really great to support at least musically people in that way.”
As for the future, Maria Ortega sees it this way.
“I see it as an extra day here on earth is great so, I’m not scared.”
And for them that is something to dance about.