Vanessa Hudgens: 'My dad's cancer diagnosis felt like a mean joke'
The actress is now working with a cancer charity to honour her father.
Vanessa Hudgens had a hard time accepting her father's cancer diagnosis, revealing she thought he would beat the disease.
The Spring Breakers star's father Greg lost his battle with cancer in January (16) at the age of 65. He was diagnosed six months before he passed away and the 27-year-old admits, it felt like it was "some mean joke".
"You think you're going to make it through, you're there with them every step of the way, holding their hand, wanting it to be OK," she says.
Vanessa's boyfriend Austin Butler's mother died of cancer a year before Greg passed away, but the actress was still "shocked" after learning her father had been diagnosed with the disease.
"I had never dealt with cancer personally and to hear that word, it was just like a punch in the stomach," she continues. "You always think that you're going to make it through and you're going to overcome it, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Cancer is very aggressive and it doesn't take pity on anyone or anything."
Greg died the night before Vanessa played Rizzo in the TV revival of Grease and she is praising her co-stars for supporting her through the difficult ordeal.
"Every day I came to work, they all hugged me, checked in on me, made sure I was doing OK," she continues. "My dad passed away the night before my show, and it was shocking. I knew that it was coming, but nothing can prepare you for losing a parent."
"I dedicated my performance to my dad because I knew he was up there in heaven looking down on me as proud as can be," she adds.
Vanessa's father's death has inspired her to team up with the charity I Am a Dancer Against Cancer and she is using her talents to help others fighting the disease.
"I started dancing almost immediately after I learned how to walk," she says. "It will always be a part of who I am and how I express myself. When someone you love has cancer, it's a very hard thing to deal with for them and for you, but the thing that honestly got me through, it was my community that I was surrounded by."
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