CINCINNATI -- The defending champions from season 23 of Dancing with the Stars brought their mirrorball trophy to the Aronoff Center Tuesday night, but they made a few special stops along the way.
Ukrainian-American dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy spent his day bringing cheer to patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which reminded him of his encounters with Delhi Township teenager Meghan Hils. Hils dealt with chronic health problems from an early age and passed away in September 2016.
The pair first met in January 2015, when he took Meghan by the hand at Seacrest Studios at Children’s Hospital. Later that year, he invited Meghan backstage at a performance in Dayton, Ohio, and more invitations followed each time he returned to Cincinnati. The pair's friendship grew over time, and Chmerkovskiy always went out of his way to let Meghan know that she was special.
"The incredible amount of time that he would spend with her after every show just left us absolutely blown away by this man's generosity, his kindness, his tenderness," Meghan's father, Daniel Hils, said."He didn't spend five or 10 minutes with her each time. He'd spent about an hour with her after every show."
Daniel Hils, a sergeant with the Cincinnati Police Department and president of the police union, posted on Facebook Tuesday that the DWTS legend contacted him, saying “it was hard to be at the hospital without Meghan."
Chmerkovskiy then invited Sgt. Hils and his wife Patty as his personal guests to attend the Downtown production featuring season 23 champion and Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez alongside some of America’s best ballroom dancers.
Check out the screenshot below to see the collage Hils put together as a special memento for Chmerkovskiy to remember his friend Meghan.
"He was very touched by it," Hils said. "I said, 'Well, you really touched her life,' and he said, 'Well, she really touched mine.'"