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Dying Teen Covers Katy Perry's 'Roar' and Touches Hearts
byKaitlin StanfordNov 04, 2013
Sweeping the Web this weekend is the powerful story of 16-year-old Olivia Wise, a Toronto teen who's using her last days to inspire millions.
In a three-minute YouTube video, Olivia can be seen behind the mic in a recording studio, covering Katy Perry's latest hit, "Roar," while producers mix her voice with an instrumental track. It's pretty much the dream of nearly every teenage girl. Except for the fact that Olivia is singing from her wheelchair and struggling through pain to hit each note.
That's because Olivia is dying from an inoperable brain tumor, and has just months to live.
The tumor was discovered in early 2012, after she suffered a debilitating seizure. And now, over a year later, the teen is faced with the reality of not knowing whether she'll make it to the holidays, let alone graduation day.
But she isn't spending her last days in vain. She's started a charity fund called the Liv Wise Fund, which has raised $27,000 to date for cancer research. And her cover of "Roar," which has now earned hundreds of thousands views and counting, is raising awareness and inspiring others at the same time.
Singing was, after all, one of Olivia's favorite things to do before her diagnosis changed her life forever. The Canadian high schooler would sit in front of her locker with friends, and sing some of her favorite songs as they listened. That's why, at the urging of her L.A.-based producer and songwriter cousin, Jeff Kassel, Olivia decided to record her own version of Perry's mega-hit.
The video was shot back in September, but has just recently gone viral. So viral, in fact, that Katy Perry herself has seen the video, and later responded in her own YouTube video.
"You sounded great," Perry told Olivia. "I love you. A lot of people love you. ... Keep roaring."