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Chemo Round 45 and The Harlem Shake

By now, you know that my chemo infusion days aren’t that normal. The day begins with my choosing a t-shirt that puts me in an especially kick a** mood, continues with some hip hop music blasting on the way to Norris, and consists of lots of hugs and laughs with Dr. Lenz and a great time with my crew. Chemo has never been a solemn occasion. It has never been sad. It has always been happy. And, believe it or not (if you’ve followed this blog for long enough, you’ll believe it), it's always been fun.

This round of chemo was especially so. And now over a half a million people know about it.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when the “Harlem Shake” YouTube dance craze began. This, like all other YouTube fads, spread rapidly. Harlem Shake videos are about 30 seconds long, and go like this: while everyone else in the room acts totally normally, either watching TV or reading or on the computer, one person starts dancing. That person wears a helmet or mask of some kind, and spends the first half of the Harlem Shake song gyrating and dancing all alone. Then, the song changes. A voice says “AND DO THE HARLEM SHAKE” and the beat drops. At that moment in the video, all the people who were acting normally are suddenly in different garb (usually outlandish in some respect) and breaking it down, dancing their butts off. After about 15 seconds of dancing as a crew, the song comes to an abrupt end with a sort of growl sound, and that’s it. This is the Harlem Shake video craze.

So from the first moment I saw a Harlem Shake video, I wanted in. I loved the sheer ridiculousness of it all and longed to dance to the beat. I really wanted to be the person in the helmet, too. So I talked with my crew and we decided that we’d do a Harlem Shake – Chemo Edition video.

It wasn’t hard getting buy-in. My parents were in. My nurse was in. The awesome volunteer who always hooks me up with a warm blanket and a plethora of vegan eats was in. And, of course, Dr. Lenz was in. He recruited his nurse practitioner, Taline, to join in the fun. A nurse who passed my room and saw the madness unfolding asked if we wanted another volunteer dancer. And Jordan, the man who made The Wunder Project’s film, was on hand to capture the magic.

It took a few cuts, but we managed to get enough footage to feel comfortable with our upcoming offering to the Harlem Shake pantheon. I loved getting a little dancing in before chemo, too – got the blood pumping and somehow made the whole infusion process seem easier than ever before. While I guzzled down my chemo, I watched some rough cuts of our work and knew that we’d done something really, really good. We’d joined the craze and I had a feeling we'd make a splash. All the while, we’d be helping raise the profile of The Wunder Project, since we released our Harlem Shake on The WunderGlo Foundation’s YouTube channel and Jordan made sure to add The Wunder Project’s logo to the end of the video. The Harlem Shake could only bring good things.

Now, several days later, I’m fully bounced back from chemo (it was one of the easiest rounds yet – good times) and, so far, The Wunder Project’s Harlem Shake (Chemo Edition) has received over 641,000 views on YouTube. It has, in fact, contributed to more views to our actual film and to all the videos previously released on the Foundation's channel. I have a feeling that we'll hit a million views, and that could lead to more media attention (although things are already going well, which I'll tell you about soon). We thought of a creative and timely way to get our faces, and our dance moves, out to the world and I'm pretty sure we succeeded. I think it’s safe to say that Chemo Round 45 was a major success.

Oh yeah, and here’s the video -- I hope you like it:

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