It was another epic night in the ballroom on Dancing With the Stars and for Alexis Ren, it was a super emotional evening that brought everyone watching her stunning performance to tears. The theme of the evening was “Most Memorable Year” and Alexis chose 2014, the year her mom Cynthia, sadly passed away.

“On Mother’s Day, my dad came downstairs to my room and said, ‘Something’s wrong with mom.’ My mom had Stage 4 cancer and she wouldn’t live another week,” Alexis shared. “And it’s crazy because you never think that the strongest person in your family would be the most broken.”

The 21-year-old model went on to say how her mom ended up fighting a six-month battle before she passed away on Jan. 8, 2014.

“I’ll never forget those months with her. Those six motnhs changed me so dramatically. It’s like the hardest thing a child can go through,” she explained. “I was able to keep her wedding ring, I wear it every day, to keep her memory alive. This week, I get to dedicate this dance to her. I can’t even explain how proud she would be of me.”

DWTS was Alexis’ mom’s favorite show, so she knows her momma would just be over-the-moon with excitement seeing her daughter compete for the mirrorball trophy. Although she was only 17 when she lost her mom, Alexis knew even then her goal in life was to make her mom proud.

“You can take a parent’s death one way or another. You could be like, ‘Oh my god. I just want to get rid of this pain,’ and party or whatever. But I took it as, ‘OK, now I’m living for me and my mom. Now I have to live my life to the absolute most,'” she said to Cosmopolitan.

And that is truly beautiful. Check out Alexis and her partner Alan Bernsten’s performance below:

Love J-14? Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for fun, exclusive videos with your favorite stars.