A Phoenix girl hopes she can be an inspiration for others roughly a year removed from her final treatments for brain cancer.
Eight-year-old Viera Vigness is seen in pictures and video almost always with a smile. The happy demeanor might mask what has been a difficult journey, as she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2019.
"A lot of people would say, 'Boy, I don't think I could do it, I don't know how you could do it,'" said Viera's father, Nathan Vigness. "You don't have an option. You do it."
Viera underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy, finishing the last treatment May 2020.
"I was just always so tired," Viera Vigness said. "I wasn't, like, my normal self."
During the course of her treatment, Viera told ABC15 she found joy in music.
"I've always... loved music," she said. "When I heard there was music therapy, I was getting so excited and worked up."
Several personal videos show Viera joyfully belting out a song.
"Especially at her age, it's really, really difficult to find the words to express what it's like to have cancer," said Grace O'Leary, a music therapist at Phoenix Children's. "So, music gave her a different way to express that, a different way to talk about that."
Nathan told ABC15 Viera is doing well, although she undergoes brain scans every three months to check for potential problems.
"[Viera's] mom and I have 'scan-xiety' every three months," Nathan Vigness said. "We live high for two and a half months and then for a couple weeks we start to freak out."
As if going through treatment for a brain tumor weren't enough, Viera had to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, which began right around the time she was wrapping up her treatments. Despite all she went through, she still kick-started a toy drive this past Christmas to help other children who have cancer.
Viera hopes her story helps inspire others.
"When a kid is down I just always say to them, 'You're fine,'" Viera said. "Just think about what I've been through."