COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Not even leukemia can stop Harper Beare from dancing.
The 5-year-old showed off her moves Wednesday shortly before heading out with Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises, as reported by our news partner the Coeur d'Alene Press.
“Can you dance?” asked her mom, Sydney Reep.
She raised her arms, touched her hands together, and then, despite wearing boots, spun around in graceful circles, her red skirt floating higher.
A minute later she stopped and looked through her red, round-rimmed glasses at the crowd watching her.
“You really are a ballerina,” said an admirer.
The determined girl with red hair was the belle of the ball on Wednesday, after finishing an eight-week ballerina course, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
She and family members and about 20 friends and their parents celebrated with a Fancy Nancy tea party aboard the Spirit of Coeur d’Alene.
When Harper boarded, a tiara was placed on her head. She beamed as she looked around and saw colorful ribbons, balloons and streamers. Plates of cookies, strawberries and chocolate-covered sweets waited on tables. In the corner was a Fancy Nancy cake.
Harper found a chair, sat down and began tasting the treats, friends on each side.
Wearing a blue sash, bright yellow blouse and multi-colored necklace, she offered few words. But her eyes, bright with excitement, said enough.
It was a long road to get here from being diagnosed with leukemia at 10 months old and spending much of her life in and out of regional hospitals.
A year ago, she began walking.
Harper received a cord blood transplant and due to the donor cells, she is now in remission, something the family only learned earlier this month.
Since she is done with treatments, a party was definitely in order.
“Oh my gosh, she's so sassy and bubbly, and powerful and intelligent,” her mom said. “Last night, we were talking about how special this party was going to be. And she told me, ‘Yeah, I wasn't ready to go to heaven yet, so I fought really hard so I could be here with my mom.’”
“I don’t even have the adequate words,” said Reep, of Harrison. “We made it almost five years later. We made it. And she's here.”
Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises donated the surprise cruise for the tea party.
“We always like to support good causes,” said Jamie Cornell, director of sales at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, who also greeted Harper along with several other staff members.
Make-A-Wish Idaho serves children throughout the state with offices in Boise and Pocatello. The organization's goal is to grant every eligible wish and has granted over 1,800 wishes since the chapter was founded.
Make-A-Wish described Harper as “smart, empathetic and observant. She loves making people laugh with her bright, bubbly personality.”
Harper likes reading, cats, dogs, spending time with family and helping the nurses at the doctor's office.
She is still recovering from the transplant process, but you couldn’t tell that on Wednesday as she posed with family and friends, accommodating photographers with smiles.
Harper’s dad, Ty Beare of Silverton, said it was exciting to see his daughter have a day that was all about catering to her.
“A day for her to enjoy,” he said.
Beare said Harper is “doing phenomenal,” and has battled back to the point where she is “an ordinary kid at this point.
“She's happy and healthy,” he said.
In ways, Harper is like her hero, Fancy Nancy, a children's book character. She is young girl with a flamboyant personality who loves dressing fancy and talking fancy.
Just like Harper.
In one of Fancy Nancy’s adventures, she learns how to become a ballet dancer.
Harper’s wish was to follow in her footsteps, which Make-A-Wish made come true.
Harper is a good dancer, her mom said, and was granted another eight weeks of ballet.
“She knows her stuff,” her mom said.
The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 News Partner. For more news from our partners, click here.