It can be normal to feel a little groggy, exhausted, or jet lagged after a long trip or flight back, and we usually need a few days to catch up on rest. But for high school sophomore Calysta, her symptoms were unusually intense.
After getting home from a family vacation in Orlando, Calysta Biever was bloated, vomiting, and felt downright unwell. That’s when her mother noticed a lump on her stomach.
Doctors thought she was pregnant, but the 15-year-old told them that wasn’t possible. Further tests revealed the high school cheerleader had a rare form of stage 3 ovarian cancer and a 5-pound tumor.
In 2015 Calysta spent her entire summer in and out of the hospital and underwent 21 chemo infusions.
The teen says she had a lump in her stomach for over a year that she ignored. Now, she’s focused on spreading awareness so others don’t make the same mistake. Calysta said “I didn’t really think anything of it because it wasn’t a problem.”
Ovarian cancer can be difficult to detect, making it all the more important to pay attention to unusual characteristics, like a lump. Her doctor at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital, Dagmar Stein, said the sophomore had a rare form of cancer, and “symptoms are very non-specific, and that’s why ovarian cancer is very difficult to pick up. You won’t feel anything until the cancer is large and that’s why it can be so deadly for women.”
Two years later, Caly is now in remission. She said her positive attitude got her through the tough times and made her realize “how important all the little things in life really are.”
“I always try to be happy and look at the positive side of things.”
But perhaps optimism also runs in her family, her firefighter dad told People, “After her treatments we were told that she was in remission. We consider ourselves the lucky ones to be able to say our daughter beat Stage 3 cancer.”
Music also helped Caly stay optimistic.
The high school sophomore always had a passion for singing, and despite winning several high school talent shows, she “never did anything with it.” It was after befriending another young cancer patient in the hospital that she decided to take singing more seriously. She sang at a benefit concert for him in his hometown in Ohio.
Caly’s father recorded the performance, posted it on Youtube, and it quickly gained speed.
She chose Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” for the benefit concert.
The performance got her invited to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, followed by America’s Got Talent, where she made it to the semi-finals in 2016. The whole experience solidified her decision to pursue music professionally.
She also chose ‘Fight Song’ for her America’s Got Talent audition.
Now, two years after beating cancer, she’s ready to go for it. The 17-year-old moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music and she’s also working on her GED. According to her Twitter bio, Caly is “ready to fulfill [her] dreams of being an artist.”
Caly continues to inspire others to follow their dreams and to always believe in yourself. She added “I want to make people aware of cancer through my music. I tell my story to inspire other people to want to keep fighting and live their life to the fullest.”