For now, Calysta Bevier’s personal battle against cancer is over — but she's still determined to fight the disease.
The 16-year-old Ohio high school sophomore has been earning attention for her cover of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” after she movingly performed the tune at a fundraiser last month for another cancer patient. A YouTube video of her performance caught the eye of Ellen DeGeneres, who recently posted the video on the Facebook page for her popular talk show.
“Her voice is beautiful. So is her courage. What an amazing moment,” the caption for the video reads.
The video shows Calysta simply singing the song, her head still bald from her numerous chemotherapy treatments. She dedicates the song to others fighting cancer as well as her dad, Adam Bevier, a Toledo firefighter, who said there wasn't a dry eye in the room after the performance.
“She had that connection with people because of what she went through,” Bevier told TODAY.com. “And she really feels that song. When she sings it, you can really tell.”
This past June, doctors diagnosed Calysta with Stage III dysgerminoma, a rare form of ovarian cancer. The discovery was made in June, just days after she pointed out a large lump in her stomach to her parents while the family was on vacation in Orlando. Her parents sought medical help for their daughter the day after they returned home. On June 12, surgeons removed a four- to- five-pound tumor, along with Calysta's left ovary and fallopian tube.
Calysta went through several rounds of chemotherapy over the summer, spending days at the hospital each time. On Aug. 28, doctors said her cancer went into remission, her father said.
“I always tell people I think we’re the lucky ones,” Bevier said. "At that (hospital) unit, there were other kids that have been fighting cancer for 10 years, or others having brain surgery because of cancer. That was our most devastating time period, but it's all relative and when you step back and look at others, we know we are the the lucky ones.”
Calysta has since returned to school, where she is eager to return to her role as a varsity cheerleader. First, she has been working to regain her strength and deal with chemo-related stomach problems, Bevier said.
In the meantime, her family posts update on a Facebook page, and Calysta keeps singing “Fight Song” and other tunes at fundraisers and events to raise awareness about ovarian and pediatric cancers, he said.
“It’s weird to say, but it’s been kind of a good experience for Cal to see the importance of life," he said. "Now she wants to go and help out other people and pay it forward, the things that everyone in the community did for us,” Bevier said.
In addition to DeGeneres, Calysta has gained a fan in the song's writer and original performer: Platten herself.
“One of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever heard,” Platten tweeted recently, thanking DeGeneres for pointing out the video. “I love you Calysta."