CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - 7-year-old Davis wears his title proudly. He should. He earned it.
Davis Overcash's journey started in 2014 with excruciating abdominal pain. His mom took him to the ER thinking "appendicitis". A CT scan showed a grade 4 liver laceration. That's bad, bad news. Especially for a child.
Davis was rushed to Levine Children's Hospital. Once there, his parents were put on watch because liver lacerations often happen to kids physically abused.
Days later, Davis was getting better. His blood level kept decreasing. His mom says one "angel doctor" in particular, Dr. Stanford, kept saying things didn't make sense. She ordered tests, wondering if a tumor had ruptured his liver. A rare, rare thought. Very few kids get liver cancer. Even fewer would have a tumor that large.
Turns out that's exactly what happened.
"January 19, 2014 was the worst days of our lives," mom Mika Overcash says. "We got a phone call that Davis's lab work had come back and the number had doubled, putting the tumor marker at 100,000. I immediately started researching the best hospitals to treat liver cancer and kids."
Mika found The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Coincidentally, Dr. Stanford had previously worked at CHOP. She had lots of connections in Philly. The Overcash family went home, packed up their bags and left for Pennsylvania.
"Davis was so brave through all this," Mika says. "We told him we were going on a road trip to see new doctors that were going to help us."
The formal diagnosis was a dreaded type of liver cancer called hepatoblastoma. Davis got on a treatment plan fast. He would receive four cycles of 20 chemotherapy treatments, then have 50% of his liver removed (the entire right lobe), then two more cycles of 10 chemo treatments.
He lost some of his hearing as a side effect and went back and forth from Charlotte to Philadelphia. He was five years old at the time. Mika says throughout it all – surgery and all the treatments – her son was dancing.
"He was amazing," Mika says. "After surgery you're supposed to stay five days. Our champion only stayed four. Even his doctor was amazed. Once out of the hospital, he woke up dancing. We had to tell him to take it easy. He told us he wanted to dance up the steps from the movie Rocky. A week later we finally let him."
Davis climbed all the way to the top.
Since then, he has continued his chemo. His MRI's look good. Pathology reports look clear. He, so far, is doing great.
"But we have to always remember you never know what tomorrow will bring," Mika says. "We don't want to celebrate too early. We've also learned bigger life lessons from his journey: Make sure you tell your loved ones you love them. Don't get mad at small things, and try not to judge others. You never know what they're going through."
If Davis looks familiar to you, maybe it's because he's now using his experience to pay it forward. This second grader was part of both the Martin Truex Foundation catwalk and the Pinky Swear Foundation triathlon earlier this year, and is in this month's Lake Norman Magazine.
He also helps his mom with their new foundation started a year ago… the Dancing Davis Shaking Off Cancer Foundation.
The goal is to help families with financial and emotional support.
"We want to eventually donate money to help with research too," said Mika Overcash. "Baby steps. I work full-time, am a mom and try to run the foundation. It's a lot. I've learned sleep is not important."
She said that last part with a laugh.
She's entirely grateful Dancing Davis is active and able to keep her on her toes. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
**Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids in the month of September, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. This article was first published there – maybe you'll be able to tell that in the personal way it's written. For years Molly has followed the stories of dozens of kids with uphill medical battles. During Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, she features one a day. Thirty total. Find this story (and updates on all of #MollysKids) here.