A brain tumor hasn t kept Braylon Beam from dancing to his own beat
Credit: Courtesy Beam Family

Braylon Beam is tethered to a pole, a bag of lifesaving fluids dangling from the top. He is getting chemotherapy treatment for a pediatric brain tumor, as he does every Friday. And yet, he is dancing. Full on, booty-shaking, dancing.

“Rapper’s Delight” is blaring from an iPhone and the 6-year-old has even managed to recruit backup dancers.

There are the women from the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) group at his school that have come to visit and a fellow patient in the clinic at St. Jude Affiliate at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. And of course, his dad, Jesse Beam, a 31-year-old PE teacher, is also dancing.

They are all following the kindergartner’s lead as he entertains a crowd of nurses and patients. “That’s Braylon, I think that’s why people have fallen in love with him,” Jesse says.

In February, doctors found a tumor behind Braylon s optic nerve. He can only see shadows in one eye and is slowly losing vision in the other. The chemotherapy is meant to shrink the tumor and save his vision.

Braylon and his dad came up with the idea for the Friday dance party as a way to get through his yearlong treatments. The two pick out a song and rehearse the night before.

Dr. Jessica Bell, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist treating Braylon told PEOPLE, “Braylon’s dancing is wonderful, amazing, it fills us with joy. This is what the treatment really is all about – it’s about surviving and maintaining their childhood joy throughout. That’s why we’re doing this.”

Braylon’s mother, Meredith, who is a 30-year-old nurse, posts the videos on Facebook each week as a way of thanking the community. Each video receives thousands of views.

The Beam family lives in Denver, North Carolina, a small town outside of Charlotte, and the whole town has come together to help in their fight. There is a Zumbathon planned and fundraisers at school. The family also has a fundraising page.

“The community has really lifted us up and put us on their shoulders,” Jesse says. Braylon adds that he is fighting the cancer the way his parents have taught him. “Being brave,” he says quietly.

An MRI last week showed good news – the cancer hasn’t spread. “It’s the best news we’ve had in a long time,” Jesse says, his eyes welling with tears. And they’ll celebrate the best way they know how – another dance.