Video of a father-son dancing duo recently went viral as thousands of viewers tuned in to watch them celebrate the little boy’s latest milestone on a very challenging journey.
The toddler, who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just a year old, has now been cancer-free for 11 months.
To mark the latest month of remission, his father filmed the two of them celebrating and posted the video in an Instagram clip.
Kristian Thomas and his dad, Kennith Thomas, have been filming dancing videos together for a while. The father of four said he hopes the dancing will make his son smile — and it’s clearly working.
The cheerful toddler hasn’t had an easy life so far. He was born with Down syndrome and a rare blood disorder that impacted his platelet count — a condition that doctors warned could lead to leukemia.
As they feared, when Kristian was just over a year old, he was diagnosed with cancer, beginning an uphill battle at a very young age.
However, his family was determined to help him fight the illness, not only with as much care as they could offer, but with faith and positivity as well.
He and his wife knew their fourth child might have complications, but their fears didn’t matter to them nearly as much as the new little life that was joining their family.
“I was just happy at the fact that [Kristian] was just here,” Thomas said. “I knew he was going to change people’s lives off the bat and he already changed ours the second he came out.”
After Kristian’s cancer diagnosis, Thomas became even more determined to stay strong for his son. The owner of a dance studio in New Jersey, Thomas realized he already had everything that he needed to cheer up Kristian during the long months spent running tests and treatment in the hospital.
It was simple: he started dancing.
“I’ve been doing these videos and people have been loving them since the first one that I did. I figure why not kill two birds with one stone, and not be the dad that’s grieving and complaining about his son being in the hospital and his family being in the hospital all day,” Thomas said. “Why don’t I change things up a little bit and lets show people how to be positive in this situation.”
As Kristian went through treatment and eventually went into remission, he danced with his dad, drawing joy from the music and the movement.
“We want his life to be whatever it is that he wants it to really be. I’m just here to try and give him a little spark and a little boost in moving forward,” Thomas said.
Together, they documented Kristian’s journey as he battled cancer, filming a new video every time he passed another milestone. The clips started gaining traction online as Instagram users offered support and prayers for the family.
The pair even won a social media challenge sponsored by the pop singer Ciara, after they sent her a video of Kristian dancing after his first round of chemotherapy, according to the New York Post.
After they won, the musician came to meet them, finding herself inspired and uplifted by the family’s enduring positivity.
“He’s surrounded by an abundance of love,” she wrote on Instagram. “He radiates love! He’s a true warrior! I felt so blessed being with him and his family! He’s currently in remission, and has one more big step left! Let’s all continue to lift this angel up in prayer!”
Prayers were a huge part of the journey for the Thomases, who turned to God again and again during the hard months of treatment.
Posting a photo of Kristian on Instagram, Thomas wrote, “I asked God why, and he began to show me things that I never even envisioned happening. Our family is a true testimony that all things are working for my good.”
Now, after nearly a year free of the disease, Thomas is glad he and Kristian spent so much time focusing on being thankful, rather than on the pain. He hopes their story can offer encouragement to other families going through the same struggles.
“For people who have to go through this in the future — I want them to take a look at our story and take a look at our life and see that you can get through this,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.