The country singer's cousin Holly is also a brain cancer survivor
On Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, Alaina, 24, revealed that her cousin Holly, 36, recently “had a brain bleed and slipped into a coma.” Speaking to reporters after her performance, which she dedicated to Holly, the country singer gave an update on her condition.
“I flew home to [Nashville] on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning, my mom woke me up saying my cousin Holly had a brain bleed and was being flown to Atlanta for emergency brain surgery to stop the bleeding,” Alaina explained. “She was literally fine the day before. … Then they said, ‘You need to come now. It’s very bad.'”
So Alaina flew from Nashville to Atlanta to be with her family as they rallied around Holly, who had “slipped into a coma and was non-responsive.”
“It was not looking very good,” Alaina said. “But if I can say anything about her, Holly, she’s a stage four cancer brain tumor survivor. They told her she was going to die 12 years ago and she did not.”
“She was at my American Idol audition, she taught me how to sing, she is one of the most important people in my life,” she continued. “She is like a sister to me. She is stubborn. She never listens to the doctors. They told us on Wednesday that there was no hope. Now, she’s beginning to breathe on her own. When the doctors came in and asked her if she could hear them, she gave a thumbs up.”
“I called my aunt earlier today and my aunt let me talk to [Holly] and I said, ‘I am going to dance tonight. I am going to dance for you,’ and she wiggled when I was talking to her,” Alaina added.
Alaina said she picked Dolly Parton’s “heartbreaking song,” “Jolene,” so she could channel all her emotion into her foxtrot with partner Gleb Savchenko, which earned them a 32 out of 40 and kept them safe until next week’s show.
“I am right where Holly would want me to be. I am. I know that,” she said. “As hard as it was to leave my family, I know that if she could wake up right now, she would say, ‘You better go out there and dance.’ She is my no. 1 fan. My uncle told me at the hospital that she has been recording the show and watching us dance on repeat.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.