An Elizabethtown girl who has overcome cancer and launched a video challenge to help raise money for others fighting childhood cancer is about to get a boost for her campaign nationally.
Cierra McCauley, a fifth-grader at Rockcreek Elementary School, will be on NBC’s “Today” show with her parents Mike and Marci McCauley sometime this week after Mike McCauley received a phone call from one of the show’s producers.
He described being shocked over the call asking the family if they would be interested in sharing their story nationally.
They will be interviewed by “Today” show co-host Hoda Kotb, he said.
Cierra, a competitive dancer at Sonya’s Dance Zone in Columbus, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and continued to dance even while she was battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She launched a dance challenge, Dancer Beating Cancer, in September as part of an effort to raise money for pediatric research as part of an effort with Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.
The campaign asks people to record people dancing to music and then post the video on social media using the hashtag #DancerBeatingCancer. Individuals are asked to tag others while making a donation to help fund pediatric research at Riley.
For every $1 that is raised, $12 in federal grant dollars will go to the hospital.
The McCauley family has invited a “Today” show crew to visit their home, after which they will fly to New York City, where the network morning show is taped.
McCauley said he isn’t sure when specifically the family will appear on television, or whether an interview will be broadcast live.
The “Today” show airs in central Indiana from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WTHR, the Indianapolis NBC affiliate. Programming information for the morning news show does not yet list the McCauleys’ appearance.
McCauley said his family hopes to raise awareness about the importance of pediatric research on a national level and see their campaign hit its $100,000 goal.
“We need help and we need the funding,” said McCauley, who indicated the tally was at about $5,000 at last report.
McCauley doesn’t foresee the national spotlight being a problem for Cierra, who performed with the Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders last month at Lucas Oil Stadium after agreeing to participate in the challenge.
“She’s just a natural,” he said.
The Dancer Beating Cancer challenge has spread across the country and included Cierra dancing last month with cast members from the Indianapolis Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” A Facebook page dedicated to the effort challenged the Ellen DeGeneres Show to participate earlier this month.
Still, the campaign is an effort to help get more funding and resources for children who are battling cancer across the country, McCauley said. It is an opportunity to advocate for others who are fighting cancer, he said.
“It’s not about Cierra, it’s not about us,” he said. “We need people to see this going on.”
Mike and Marci McCauley live in Elizabethtown with their 11-year-old daughter Cierra, who attends Rockcreek Elementary School outside of Columbus as a fifth-grade student. Mike McCauley works in security at Columbus Regional Health, while his Marci McCauley is a loan officer at Farm Credit.