Beautiful, Inside and Out

May 03, 2017 - Carrollton Leader

Elyon Choeun with Scott Murray. Kristina Bowman Photography

Earlier this month, a little Carrollton cancer survivor made her runway debut as a model in the Children’s Cancer Fund Gala.

Elyon Choeun, 10, was one of 16 featured models at the NYC-themed “Broadway Nights and Runway Lights” event, the CCF’s 29th annual fundraiser for pediatric oncology research and treatment programs. She was diagnosed with childhood intracranial germinoma in 2016.

Elyon is a fourth-grader at Blanton Elementary School. She has an older sister and a pug named Boo. She enjoys reading, drawing and coloring. In the future, she hopes to be a doctor, lawyer, police officer or artist. She said her mom Chanry and her sister Nadia are her heroes because they take care of her.

Her favorite movie stars are Steve Carrell, Kristen Bell and Emma Watson, and she likes music by Twenty One Pilots, One Direction, Drake and Kanye West. If she could go anywhere, she’d go to California because it has L.A. and San Francisco.

Well, places where runways aren’t foreign.

“I am very excited to walk on the runway in front of everyone,” Elyon said before the event. “It will be such a fun time.”

Elyon was part of a fashion show put on by Dillard’s and produced by RSC Show Productions. It featured children going through cancer treatment at Children’s Health in Dallas. They were escorted down the runway by the likes of Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach and other celebrities.

Elyon strutted her stuff holding the hand of Scott Murray, Emmy Award-winning journalist and host of the Scott Murray Show on KILF radio. Elyon was decked out in a white chiffon dress with an embroidered gold satin bodice and waistband. Oh, and on her feet? Pink Converse-style sneakers. She is, after all, a kid.

Normally, Elyon wears outfits including items like jeans, T-shirts and a bomber jacket, Chanry said.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us because out of (all these) children, they took her,” she said. “She should be so proud of it.”

Elyon has been in remission since May.

“When she was diagnosed my whole world just collapsed,” said Chanry, who is from the Chicago area and had only recently relocated to the Dallas area when Elyon became ill. “Our family is going through a lot right now. It’s just us three. Moving to Texas, it’s like somebody ‘up there’ was looking down upon us. If I would have stayed in Chicago I don’t know what would have gone on with her.”

After some abnormal symptoms, Elyon was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus and the cancer. That didn’t stop this lively youngster though. Despite being absent a lot, with daily radiation treatments, Elyon was able to keep a B average in school throughout the entire ordeal.

“The school, when they found out … they raised money for us,” Chanry said. “I didn’t have a job then. Children’s (Medical Center of Dallas), too, has been really amazing, and every doctor that she met, they worked constantly together just to take care of her. They made her feel really, really special.”

Blanton Elementary’s after-school program even raised money to send the family to Disney World.

First Baptist Church and Metrocrest Services also helped them pay their bills, and the Pinky Square Foundation paid their rent for a month when money was tight.

Elyon’s last radiation treatment was in May, and she recently had her fifth MRI since it ended. She’ll need to have them every three months for the first year of her remission.

“Right now she gets a headache or tummy ache, but her MRI showed she’s good,” Chanry said. “She’s a really, really tough cookie. I feel like going through chemo and what she’s got right now … she was just a happy child, even though she had that.”


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