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Young cancer patient's 'The Nutcracker' wish comes true

Evi Svete, center, was able to perform in a Ballet West production of the Nutcracker on Thursday. (Stuart Johnson, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – A holiday tradition, "The Nutcracker," is back in front of live audiences after last year's performances were canceled because of the pandemic.

One of the performers this year is possibly the youngest ever to perform with Ballet West.

Five-year-old Evi Svete has been training hard. "If you count the times where we play the music at home and she dances around the living room, I would say she's been practicing for years — her whole life for this," her dad, Kyle Svete, said.

The Svete family's favorite ballet is "The Nutcracker."

"I love Clara," Evi said.

And watching together is a tradition they didn't even miss last year, while the pandemic forced the cancellation of in-person performances.

"They played 'The Nutcracker' Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we watched both," said Evi's mother, Margo.

It was a welcomed sight last year.

"We spent all of the holidays last year up at (Primary Children's Hospital) and starting to kick cancer's butt," Margo said.

Evi was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She started treatment immediately.

"Sitting there in the hospital, she said she wanted to be Clara one day," Kyle said. "Then we said, wait a second, you do have a wish."

On Thursday, that wish came true, thanks to Ballet West and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Evi performed at the Capitol Theatre."Because I get to do ballet on a real stage," she said.

The special day helped the Svete's get through a tough time. "It's really been a beacon and a light of hope in some of the darkest days that surely we've ever lived," Kyle said.

Evi's performance was the best Christmas present her parents could have this year.

"I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep tonight," Margo said as she turned to Evi. "Do you know what this is like for mom and dad? This is like Christmas morning."

Evi's parents are advocating for more attention and research for pediatric cancer because, they say, any family can become a cancer family.

Ashley Moser


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