BURNSVILLE, Minn. — For 10 years, a Burnsville dad never missed any of his daughters' dance competitions, until a fast-progressing cancer sidelined him earlier this year.
Dat Le learned on Jan. 19 that he was diagnosed with a blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). He's been receiving treatment at M Health Fairview for several weeks, unable to go home.
"I have three girls and I can't afford to be sick," said Dat, who is a single father to Ashley, a dance coach at Two Rivers High School, Amanda, and Emma, a senior on the Burnsville High School Dance Team. Emma transitioned to online schooling while her dad was in the hospital.
After rooting on his dancing daughters for the last decade, now Dat is the one who needs a cheerleader.
"You're supposed to be the strong one, and I try to be, but nobody wants to see their dad in that state," said Ashley Le.
"Seeing my dad go through this, he works so hard to get me where I am right now, and this is our time to pay him back," said Emma Le.
Next year, Emma, will join the 22x national champion dance team at the University of Minnesota. While her future team was competing, and winning, at, they took the time to record a supportive video message for Dat. The team also sent Dat cards, which now brighten up his hospital room.
"It meant so much to us," said Emma, "And every little message they sent, my dad would cry."
"There's an army out there behind us, lifting us up every day and I feel it," said Dat.
Dat Le learned on Tuesday that he can go back home and begin outpatient treatment. Which means he'll be able to watch his daughter, Emma, dance this weekend at her team's Sections competition.
"You can't take things for granted. One day you can walk into a gym and watch your daughter dance, and the next day you don't know if you can or not," said Dat.
for more features.