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Inspiring Video of CHaD Patients Becomes a YouTube Hit

Lebanon — Several children who are patients at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth have some sweet dance moves, and right now, they’re part of a video sweeping around the Internet.

More than 1.3 million viewers have watched the CHaD video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnG3MKos87A#t=90) of patients and staff dancing along to Katy Perry’s song Roar since it was posted to YouTube on Monday.

Holly Gaspar, child life specialist at CHaD who helped lead the team behind the video, said no Upper Valley kids are in the video, but most of the children are from the Twin States. Many are shown lip-synching to the lyrics, which talk about finding your own inner strength and standing up to challenges.

“It’s such a pop hit song right now. Kids are really into pop hits, and I think doing the job we do, we really have to be aware of that and build off that. I just thought it would be a great idea,” Gaspar said.

Delaney Kelly, who is 3½, and her dad, Sean Kelly, who both live in Bow, N.H., are shown wiggling their tail feathers, Delaney in pink and Sean in blue, about 1 minute and 25 seconds into the video. Sean Kelly had heard snippets of Perry’s song before, but hadn’t given it much thought, he said.

“Her songs were very popcorny to me. I didn’t think she was much of a singer with meaning,” he said. “Now that I’ve seen it, it takes on a huge meaning to me. Any time I hear that song, I will think of the wonderful work the people at ChaD do. I really believe if it wasn’t for them, my daughter might not be where she is today.”

Delaney has been getting treatment at CHaD for almost two years, receiving chemotherapy almost every week for a slow-growing brain tumor. She’s seen the video, but, being 3 years old, she doesn’t quite understand the reach of YouTube.

Her older sisters, Keagen, 9, and Emma, 8, “they get it a bit more, and they think it’s very cool,” Kelly said.

All of the footage was taped in one day, when all of the children featured were well enough to participate, according to the hospital.

Perry challenged high schools across the country to make videos of students lip-synching to Roar, which spawned hundreds of attempts on YouTube before she awarded the prize — a special concert for the school on live TV — last week. The hospital made the video earlier this month as a tribute to everyone who supported the CHaD HERO fundraiser, which raised more than $650,000, mostly through a road race Sunday.

More than 100 runners wore bright-pink T-shirts for Team Delaney and raised $13,000 this year, Kelly said.

Delaney is almost done with chemotherapy, Kelly said, and she’s really excited to be starting dance classes in November.

Gaspar said both patients and staff are excited about the reception to the video.

“We didn’t realize how big this was going to get. Most of the things we’ve done video wise, taking pictures of kids, have really been for the community, the patient, just local representing CHAD. We really had no idea how big this was going to get,” she said. “And I think the kids are so excited about being mini famous on the web.”

Chris Fleisher of the Valley News and Sarah Palermo of the Concord Monitor contributed to this report.