Vanessa Hudgens’ happy moment accepting her award for Breakthrough Performer at the 2015 Industry Dance Awards turned solemn on Wednesday, August 19.
The 26-year-old actress, who recently took to Broadway, revealed in her emotional speech that her father, Greg, is battling stage 4 cancer, as the awards event was held to benefit The Circle of Hope, a charity that supports dancers who survive cancer.
Hudgens attended the event with her boyfriend, actor Austin Butler, and explained that together they are both dealing with the disease’s impact on their families.
“Last year, my boyfriend, Austin, lost his mom, Lori, to cancer, and my dad has recently been diagnosed with stage four cancer. Let me tell you, I hate cancer. I hate cancer with every cell of my being,” she said, shocking everyone with her announcement. “If you would have asked me two years ago what I thought of cancer, I would have said, ‘Man, you know it sucks. It’s a horrible disease,’ but that’s only because I had not been faced with it personally.”
She then dedicated the award to Lori, her father, and all families battling with cancer.
“This award, it means a lot to me but I dedicate it to my boyfriend’s mom, Lori, my dad and to all the families out there who are struggling with this, because it really takes a strong person and a strong family to be able to help those out who are going through this,” an emotional Hudgens stated.
This is the first time she has publicly spoken out about her dad’s battle, but a month ago she did share an Instagram picture of herself with her father, writing, “My daddy and I. Please pray for his healing!!! The more prayers the better.”