Vanessa Hudgens got personal while accepting an award for Breakthrough Performer at the 2015 Industry Dance Awards on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old, who recently starred in the musical Gigi on Broadway, revealed in an emotional speech that her father is battling stage four cancer and that her boyfriend, Austin Butler, recently lost his mother to the disease.
“Last year, my boyfriend, Austin, lost his mom, Lori, to cancer, and my dad has just been recently diagnosed with stage four cancer,” Hudgens said at the event benefiting The Circle of Hope charity, which supports dancers who are cancer survivors. “Let me tell you, I hate cancer. I hate cancer with every cell of my being.”
Although this was the first time she publicly acknowledged her father’s diagnosis, she posted a photo on Instagram with her dad last month, asking fans for their support.
“My daddy and I. Please pray for his healing!!! The more prayers the better,” she captioned the photo.
“If you would have asked me two years ago what I thought of cancer, I would have said, ‘Man, you know it sucks. It’s a horrible disease,’ but that’s only because I had not been faced with it personally,” she said.
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“This award, it means a lot to me,” she added. “But I dedicate it to my boyfriend’s mom, Lori, my dad, and to all the families out there who are struggling with this because it really takes a strong person and a strong family to be able to help those out who are going through this.”