Little Solomon Lutui is moonwalking his way through chemotherapy — and into recovery.
In May 2018, the 5-year-old boy from Seattle, Washington, was diagnosed with a desmoplastic small round cell tumor in his abdomen. He began chemotherapy at Seattle Children’s Hospital not long after the tumor’s discovery, and like most children his age, Solomon quickly grew restless during the long stays at the medical center that followed.
“He was getting bored with the usual puzzles, and doodling and playing video games,” his mother, Leni Lutui, tells PEOPLE. “Like any other kid, he would watch YouTube videos, and that’s when my sister introduced Michael Jackson to him. Instantly, he fell in love.”
And just like that, young Solomon immersed himself in Jackson’s many hits, like “Bad,” “Beat It,” and “Thriller.” Soon, he even began to mimic the dance moves he saw on screen.
“He started to copy all of Michael’s moves and was pretty good at them,” Lutui, 31, says. “It’s as if everything he went through, he forgot about it and just danced to the music once we started playing Michael’s music.”
Solomon became so good at nailing the dance moves that he wanted to show them off to the hospital staffers.
“Any time we went in for an appointment he would be so quick to show his doctors, or even his nurses, his Michael moves, and they were just amazed,” Lutui, who also has an 8-year-old daughter, says. “No one would know the trials this kid is going through because he just dances his way through treatment and is just a light of hope to everyone who meets him.”
Seeing Solomon find joy through such a difficult time has brought some comfort to the family, who has already lost a loved one to cancer.
“Solomon’s dad passed away from brain cancer just four years prior, when Solomon was only 10 months old,” Lutui says. “To get the news that he was diagnosed with cancer of the abdomen, it was one of the hardest news we’ve received since his dad passed away.”
To spread some of the happiness that Solomon found through Jackson’s music, Lutui began to record his performances and post them to social media. Soon, his infectious smile and dance moves went viral.
R&B singer Ciara even stopped by Solomon’s room to see his moves in person during a recent visit to the hospital.
“You can feel the power of Gods love and spirit through the joy, and strength of the sweet children of @seattlechildren,” she wrote in a tweet. “It’s so beautiful.”
Solomon finished his treatment in late December, and doctors are now weaning him off his feeding tube. Lutui hopes that Solomon’s videos bring a smile to other young cancer patients, just as they brought a smile to her.
“[The videos have] definitely shared a light of hope and faith to others who might’ve seen their situation as a difficult one,” Lutui says. “There’s always something to be thankful for, or to dance and celebrate about, even if it’s just waking up the next morning.”