Dreams really do come true for this 12-year-old from Glendale who fought her way through a cancer diagnosis to be able to join the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
Stephanie Consiglio is an active, energetic young girl who just loves to dance, but one day in 2015 threatened to change all of that. Last December, Consiglio was diagnosed with Stage 3 Germ Cell Tumors in her pelvis. Her parents were in shock as their daughter now had to go through sessions of chemotherapy, which often times leaves the patient feeling ill and drained of all their energy.
“It was really devastating,” said Lori Consiglio, Stephanie’s mother. “I was standing here babysitting my 6-month-old nephew and we were talking about ornaments going on the Christmas tree, and then I got the phone call. But my husband and I just fed off of her positivity. I don’t think I could be as brave as her.”
Consiglio was then faced with chemotherapy treatments and its negative effects, but never gave up hope and continued to dance at the TKO Dance Academy in Ozone Park, many times right after receiving treatment.
“It wasn’t painful at all. It was mentally painful though because you’re tired,” Stephanie said of the chemotherapy. “Kids who get all these symptoms, they sit down, they don’t do anything, but I kept my body going. The doctors were like, ‘You get out of chemo at 6 [o’clock],’ and I told them that I needed to be out by 5 because I have dance at 6. I told my mom, cancer messed with the wrong kid, I don’t have time for this crap.”
Consiglio has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and it quickly became a way for her to deal with having cancer, going to chemotherapy and getting through this difficult time in her young life.
“It just love it, I don’t know why. It makes me so happy, so free,” she said. “When I’m stressed out about something, about school, I just go dance and I forget about all of it. I feel so happy. Being on stage is also one of my favorite parts about competing and doing dance. I just love being on stage; I feel like I’m home.”
One of her dreams has always been to dance at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan and to become a Rockette. Thanks to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, Consiglio got to live her dream.
The Garden of Dreams was holding a talent show at Radio City and Consiglio was invited to participate.
“It had been my dream to dance at Radio City since I was 3 and I have always wanted to be a Rockette,” Consiglio said. “When I saw the Christmas show when I was little — I’ve seen it so many times — I get so happy because I want to be a Rockette one day, so when I heard it was at Radio City I was going so crazy.”
After performing at the talent show in April, Consiglio was invited to drop the first puck at a New York Rangers hockey game for their “Hockey Fights Cancer” initiative. It was during that night that she received some even better news.
Consiglio was offered to perform a solo act, opening for the world-famous Rockettes before the start of their first Christmas Spectacular show of the season.
“I literally fell on the floor,” Consiglio said. “I was hugging my mom so tight, it was crazy. I just dropped the puck at the Rangers game, I come upstairs and they tell me that I am performing opening night at Radio City, I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”
In March of this year, Consiglio and her family learned that her cancer was officially in remission.
Throughout her entire treatment and after, Consiglio tried to share her positivity with everyone who may be going through a rough patch in their life.
As she looks toward the future, Consiglio still wants to become a Rockette, but also wants to open her own dance studio and become a famous dancer. She wants to be able to share her story and help others who may be going through the same thing.
To hear more of Consiglio’s story, follow her on Instagram at justlikesteph_.