A North Texas woman battling cancer is now facing another challenge: getting used to her local celebrity status.
Ana-Alecia Ayala, who’s battling a rare form of uterine sarcoma, has become an internet sensation after a dance video she posted on social media last month went viral.
"Being recognized, especially when I'm here at the hospital, as that 'dancing chemo girl,' it's just been a lot of fun," she said.
In a post shared last month, Ayala, in her hospital gown with medical tubes attached to her, dances to "JuJu On That Beat" with her friend Danielle Andrus during a chemotherapy session at Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital in Dallas.
The video, shared with the hashtag "#JuJuOnThatChemo," has been viewed more than 8 million times. Ayala's phone was flooded with calls, texts, and emails from friends and family.
"I couldnt keep up with them and so I just put my phone down," she said.
The video caught the eye of a producer on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." After a quick interview Ayala was told she would be coming on as a guest. She can't help but smile when she recalls meeting Ellen and speaking to a nationwide audience.
"It was just amazing," she said. "My heart was pumping, which is probably a good thing because my blood counts had been low."
Ayala did not disappoint in her TV debut last week, bringing her inspirational message to the masses.
"There is life after diagnosis. Making the most of the good days and taking this diagnosis and running with it is what I've tried to accomplish," she said.
Ayala's nurses said she's achieved her goal, spreading positivity to fellow patients and staff.
"Seeing somebody like her, who passes the positive on from one person to the next and encourages you as much as we encouraged her, really makes a difference," said Deseree Cook, a nurse at the hospital.
During her appearance on Ellen, Ayala received a $20,000 donation from Shutterfly to help cover her medical costs. With her newfound fame, Ayala hopes the encouragement and support she's received will have her dancing all the way to a clean bill of health.
"My faith in god and my trust in my doctors has gotten me this far," she said. "We're going to beat this."