It was a dream come true for teenager Caly Bevier–a chance to sing live in front of thousands of hometown fans at ProMedica’s very first concert in Promenade Park.
“A whole bunch of firsts: first on that stage, first original song, first full set. I had so much fun,” said Caly. “I always wanted to be a pop star, but it was just a dream.”
Before Caly could start working on that dream, she had to get through a nightmare. She was a high school sophomore, just 15 years old, when doctors diagnosed her with ovarian cancer, a diagnosis extremely rare in someone so young. Because of her age, doctors were aggressive with the treatment–21 chemotherapy infusions over a 3-month period.
“I was at Toledo Children’s Hospital,” remembered Caly. “I would go in every three weeks and stay for four days. Three days of chemo and one day of rest and recuperate.”
Caly lost her hair and a lot of weight and started to lose herself a bit during those grueling weeks of treatment and recovery. But the staff at Toledo Children’s Hospital knew exactly how to help heal Caly in every way.
“During chemo, I was angry all the time; mad at everything, even my parents. I’d say ‘Get away!’ But the nurses were the greatest in the world.”
“During chemo, I was angry all the time; mad at everything, even my parents. I’d say, ‘Get away!’ But the nurses were the greatest in the world,” said Caly. “My favorite was Monica. I loved her because she treated me like a normal person. Obviously, she knew you were a kid with cancer and would help you in that sense, but she was more of a hard-headed ‘you’re going to get through this’ person and I loved that.”
As her body started to heal, Caly knew her spirit had been changed forever by her cancer experience. Previously a quiet girl, Caly started singing at every opportunity. A video she posted on the internet led to an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which led to an audition for the TV show America’s Got Talent.
“I was in front of millions of people on TV, which was so crazy!” said Caly. “The fact that I got to sing in front of Simon Cowell and got his golden buzzer was insane!”
Judge Simon Cowell was so moved by Caly’s performance and story that he used his one golden buzzer to push her through to the live shows in Season 11, where she made it all the way to the semifinals and became a huge inspiration to cancer patients and others all over the country.
“It means so much to me that people are inspired by my story; if I didn’t have cancer none of this would be happening,” said Caly.
Caly is frequently asked to perform at cancer benefits across the country and is now living in Los Angeles pursuing her music career. She treasures visits home to Ohio to see her family and visits ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital on every trip to thank the staff who helped heal her and to encourage the kids who are going through cancer treatment now.
“I do know kids who have been going through treatment for years and they’re still not done,” she said. “So I think I’m super lucky with that. ProMedica helped me through my first fight through cancer and I’m good with that now, and now starting off on my second fight which is my fight through the music industry.”