Figure skating club alters performance to feature skater with brain tumor

Posted at 8:17 PM, May 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-18 23:56:11-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A figure skating club in West Valley City made some changes to their yearly performance after one of their young skaters found she had a brain tumor.

Aspen Gardner is 9 years old, and she started skating when she was 4 years old. Aspen has been rehearsing for months for her part in “Rock the Jukebox,” and with a little help from her coach and her friends she was able to play a part despite the tumor.

Maggie Clarke, vice president of Centennial Park Figure Skating Club, said after the discovery of a large malignant brain tumor a few months ago, Aspen had to undergo multiple surgeries. But that didn’t keep her out of the program.

“She's had two surgeries and is still able to come out and be a part of the show tonight, even though it's not quite what we expected,” Clarke said.

Aspen is recovering from her surgeries, but not without some costs. Aspen is deaf in her left ear, and she struggles with her balance as well as paralysis on her left side.

"I can't skate now because they're just worried that I'll hit my head if I do like jumps or spins, or if I fell,” Aspen said.

The Centennial Park Figure Skating Club wanted to make sure Aspen was still a part of the show.

"We have a portion of our show dedicated to Aspen,”  Clarke said.

Before the show, Aspen said she was excited to get on the ice.

"I get to go out there in a wheelchair, and my coach is gonna push me, and I get to be in the finale, and I get to dance on my wheelchair," she said.

And after it was all over, Aspen had fun despite the complications that almost kept her from being on the ice with her friends.

"It was awesome and pretty cool, and it was really fun when Olivia and Maddie, they were dancing with me, and I was like this, and it was so much fun," she said.