Residents in a Detroit suburb put on their dancing shoes Monday for a big surprise.
Tessa Prothero, a young girl who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma 3 1/2 years ago, turned 9 years old this week, and her community came out to celebrate with a flash mob. According to her parents, Prothero has been going through an especially hard time while trying four new chemotherapy treatments for her stage four cancer. A dancer herself, she now struggles to walk.
In her father's arms, Prothero witnessed a performance devoted to her on the sidewalk outside of her home in Royal Oak.
“Tessa has been feeling a little down in the dumps lately and this flash mob was just what the doctor ordered to help boost her morale,” read a statement on Team Tessa's Facebook page, which Robert Prothero and Karin Prothero created to chronicle their daughter's cancer battle.
Organized by Gilda’s Club, a local organization that offers free support for cancer patients and their families, the flash mob featured a throng of locals -- from trained dancers to family friends.
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“I was following the man in front of me,” 62-year-old Nancy Miller told Detroit News. “When he went down, I went down.”
“So You Think You Can Dance” alumnus Will Thomas choreographed the routine and flexed his skills as the first to break out on the makeshift outdoor dance floor. He and his peers shook their tail feathers to Meghan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancin,” an ode to Tessa’s own love of dance.
For her birthday, Tessa had already gotten a new puppy, Willow, and a flood of mail with cards and presents from supporters. But nothing could prepare her for the flash mob, and “Tessa's smile lit up the streets of Royal Oak,” according to Gilda’s Club Facebook page.
In a Detroit News video, when asked what she thought of the dance routine, Tessa said, “I liked it a lot."