Dance recital held early for dad with brain cancer

Dancer with 'The Dancer's Edge' give an early performance for a dad with brain cancer.
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 10:05 AM CDT
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HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - A dance recital in Iowa took place early to give a father the opportunity to see his daughter perform, KCRG reports.

Stephen Stepanek was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in August 2022.

“Fighting brain cancer is just, it’s so hard and you can’t do it alone, and every patient and family going through this need the community behind them,” his wife Brittney Stepanek said.

Stephen Stepanek has had surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Seven months after his initial diagnosis, the family was told his cancer was recurrent and treatments to slow the cancer weren’t working.

The family said they are making the most of the time they have together.

Stephen Stepanek’s 6-year-old daughter Sylvia dances at The Dancers Edge in Hiawatha, Iowa.

“Dance is my daughter’s happy place, and so for them to get behind her and our family just means so much because we know that they’re going to be there for her every step of the way through our fight now and for the rest of her career with them. This is why we do dance because it gives her an outlet,” Brittney Stepanek said.

Their annual recital typically takes place in June, but with the uncertainty that comes with a cancer diagnosis, the dance studio helped make sure Stephen Stepanek got the chance to see his daughter take the stage with a mini-recital.

“Tonight’s just an example of gifts that they’ve given us, memories that we could keep forever, and so we’re so thankful that all of these people have gone out of their way just to do one more act for us to make sure that we have a moment that we can keep,” Brittney Stepanek said.

Charlie Vogl, the owner of The Dancer’s Edge, says they are just happy to provide Stephen Stepanek the opportunity to watch his daughter.

While emotions were running high during the performance, one moment in particular stuck out to the family.

“Watching Sylvia dance tonight and also watching Stephens’s reaction is really surreal because you know, I fear that we may not get those moments in the future. It’s just, I’m so happy we made that happen tonight,” Brittany Stepanek said.