Toronto teen Carley Allison, who is battling cancer, sings O Canada at ACC for Leafs game
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In August, just as she received the call for a second shot to sing the national anthem at the Maple Leafs’ upcoming pre-season game, teenage singer Carley Allison got the news that her cancer has returned.
For weeks, Allison, 19, has been undergoing a new round of chemotherapy, struggling with fatigue, aching bones, nausea and other side effects of the treatment, but she vowed she would not be a no-show again.
On Sunday night, in front of the biggest crowd she’s ever performed for, Allison sang “O Canada” before the hockey game at the Air Canada Centre between the Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.
With her weak, crackling voice, it wasn’t the best performance Allison would have hoped for, but the Toronto teenage was simply overjoyed by the occasion.
“I am very excited to be singing in front of such a large crowd. Obviously, I feel nervous but it’s such a wonderful opportunity I couldn’t be more excited,” she said in an interview Sunday.
“I was very disappointed last season that I was not well enough to sing but I am overjoyed to be well enough tonight.”
In 2013, Allison was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer, a clear-cell sarcoma in her trachea, which has fewer than 10 known cases in the world. The cancerous tumour was removed last summer and two subsequent CT scans showed no traces of cancer. Then the cancer returned and was found in her lungs last month.
After she made a YouTube video of her rendition of One Direction’s “More Than This” to encourage viewers to donate to Princess Margaret Hospital, she was originally invited to sing at the final game between the Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the season.
“Carley likes to perform,” said her mother, May Allison, who watched her daughter perform with husband Mark, and their two other daughters, Riley and Samantha. “She is a figure skater (with Skate Canada). She knows about performing. She loves her music.”
May Allison said her daughter has lost 10 pounds, down to 102 lbs, since her new cancer treatment started, but she has been taking a lot of herbal tea and aloe gel in the past weeks to preserve her voice. “She has had some ups and downs. It’s been very emotional for all of us,” she said.
Through her music, Carley Allison said she would like to share and raise awareness for the hospitals that have treated her cancer.
“Today I would like to share my love for music and my passion to beat cancer for the second time,” said Allison, who has been chronicling her battle and journey on her blog.
“My blog started as a way to keep everyone updated and in the loop, but it has turned into much more than that. It turned into something therapeutic for me.”