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January 9th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Young cancer warrior meets Christian singer idol via Kyra Phillips

By Sydney McIntosh, CNN

(CNN) - Not many people start fundraising at age seven, but that's what Tori Svenson did. She heard about a three-year-old with a brain tumor in her hometown and wanted to help, so she competed in a "Relay for Life" beauty pageant to raise money for the girl.

Just as Tori was about to hand over the proceeds, she learned that she, too, had a brain tumor.

Now Tori is fighting for others as she battles for her own life. One of her biggest weapons: social media. She has become a YouTube sensation, thanks to her rendition of Christian singer's Francesca Battistelli "Angel By My Side" while in chemotherapy.

When she arrived on set for a Friday interview with CNN's Kyra Phillips, her eyes glittered like a disco ball, having just caught the hustle and bustle of CNN's newsgathering operation. But she was also visibly fatigued from the previous day's chemo.

As she waited on set, she kept eyes glued on Kyra, who ticked through the day's top news stories. It wasn't long before CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano befriended her. Rob invited her to play with the weather wall as if it were an iPad.

At show time, Kyra introduced Tori and played the viral YouTube video. "What does that song mean to you?" Kyra asked her. "What would you say to Francesca Battistelli if you met her?"

Little did Tori know Battistelli was making her way on set. Tori turned to see her favorite singer in arm's reach. Tori's mouth dropped. Her mother's eyes rained tears.

Francesca Battistelli was touched that her music inspired such a special person. But she wanted Tori to know that she was an inspiration, too.

After the interview, Tori, Francesca and Kyra kept talking, including about music and dance, and Tori shared her favorite move, Tebowing for the others. Francesca sent her adoring fan home with a complete autographed collection of her music.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Music • TV • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Danny Llenhsub

    Kyra PHILLIPS EMAILS MAN DISABLED MAN CALLS HIM CRAZY MAKES FUN OF HIM FOR BEING HOSPITLIZED FOR DEPRESSION

    March 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  2. Danny Llenhsub

    THATS A WONDERFUL STORY. KYRA MUST HAVE MORE COMPASSION FOR CHILDREN WITH ILLNESSES/DISABILITIES. BECAUSE THIS HOW THEY TREATED ME. KYRA PHILLIPS AND JENNIFER WESTHOVEN CALL MAN CRAZY MAKE FUN OF HIM FOR BEING HOSPITLIZED FOR DEPRESSION

    March 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  3. fred

    Seldom is the new Republican.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
1 2

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.