The opening piano chords of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” make Camille Clark’s eyes light up. It’s one of the few moments the 10-year-old looks forward to every day.
The Liberty girl claimed the chart-topping song as her own. It’s her fight song, her take-back-her-life song.
And now Camille has gotten the attention of Platten herself.
“I hear that you’re going through some pretty tough stuff, but I know that you’re strong,” Platten, 34, said in a video to Camille, released Tuesday by ABC News. “You have a lot of loved ones and a lot of support around you, including me now. I love you so much. Keep kicking butt.”
Camille was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in April, and it has now spread to her lungs, her mother, Jessica Trapasso, said Wednesday. She recently had surgery to remove both a 9-pound tumor and a kidney. This week she started the first of 15 sets of radiation, in addition to chemotherapy.
Camille listens to “Fight Song” at least once every day, Trapasso said, usually more if she’s at Children’s Mercy Hospital for treatment, and has a deep love for Platten. Trapasso said her daughter hopes to meet the pop star one day, sing the song with her and give her a big hug.
And it might happen.
The hashtag “#camillemeetsrachel” has been circulating on social media with the hope of getting the singer’s attention. On Sunday, Platten tweeted that she was “trying so so hard to see if I can get to missouri” to see Camille.
Camille first heard Platten’s “Fight Song” on Mother’s Day when Camille was in the hospital with complications from treatment. Trapasso’s sister played it for Camille and she immediately fell in love with it. She quickly learned the lyrics.
“She sang every word,” her mother said. “She turned to me and said, ‘This is my song. This is my fight song.’”
The song has been on Top 100 Billboard charts for 16 weeks and is currently No. 9.
Trapasso said music and drawing — some of the few activities Camille can still do — have been her daughter’s saving grace. Although Camille, now weighing 51 pounds, is very weak, she still dances to Michael Jackson.
Camille was diagnosed with stage 4 anaplastic Wilms tumor after she showed her mother a big bulge on her side. Initially, Trapasso thought Camille got hurt in gym class. Until that point, her daughter was always healthy. Tests showed the tumor had crushed Camille’s kidney, and her lungs were filled with cancerous cells.
Music helped Camille deal with the news of her diagnosis: When Trapasso first told Camille that she had cancer, the girl cried because she was afraid she would die.
Where did this come from, she asked. Why was it happening to her?
But then, moments later, Camille started to sing “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.” She hasn’t cried about having cancer since.
Michele Manalang, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Children’s Mercy, said that Camille is “extremely motivated” to do whatever it takes to get better.
Trapasso said local schools, friends and even strangers are raising money to help pay for Camille’s treatment. Her family also set up a Facebook page to provide updates and a Go Fund Me account. Trapasso is a single mother who recently lost her job and said that paying bills has been difficult.
But even through the rigorous chemotherapy and surgery, Trapasso said Camille has been the strongest one in the family. Her tenacity has even surprised her doctors. When she had her surgery to remove the tumor, Camille was out of the hospital in three days.
Even though Camille gets sad about missing out on water parks and riding her bike, Trapasso said Camille has a lot of fight left in her.
“The doctors gave her a 31 percent survival rate,” Trapasso said. “She’s going to be one of the 31 percent. I know she is.”