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Watch: Jewish Teen With Brain Cancer’s Wish Comes True

16-year-old Olivia Wise records moving cover of ‘Roar,’ Katy Perry responds

Stephanie Butnick
October 30, 2013

Olivia Wise, a 16-year-old from Canada and a huge Katy Perry fan, has brain cancer. With the help of organizations like Chai Lifeline Canada and the Make a Wish Foundation, her friends and family arranged time at a recording studio for her to record a cover of Katy Perry’s new hit song “Roar.”

Sitting in a wheelchair in jeans and a sweater, Wise belts out the pop song, giving Perry’s bubble gum lyrics like “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire” an almost unbearable amount of meaning. Her voice is beautiful, her spirit indomitable, even though, as the video description explains, she was experiencing extreme discomfort:

She came into a recording studio for her first time and recorded the Katy Perry song Roar. She couldn’t walk or stand, she didn’t have her full breath or the energy she used to, and she was managing her new pains and new limitations. While her physical condition was rapidly fading, her spirit remained untouched.

The video, posted to YouTube a few weeks ago and viewed more than 150,000 times since then, has already gotten a lot of attention. The goal was to get the video all the way to Perry herself.

It worked, and this week Perry responded to Wise with a message of her own. “I love you, a lot of people love you, that’s why your video got to me,” Perry says. “And it moved everyone who saw it.”

We’re thinking of you, Olivia. To donate to The Liv Wise Fund, which supports brain tumor research, click here.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.