“Dancing is all I have ever done. I’ve had many injuries over the years but I never had to stop doing what I love. Then, two years ago, I woke up in agony in my left foot – I tried to walk and fell to the floor. The doctors carried out lots of tests and scans and eventually I was told I needed an operation.
“I went to the GP and was referred for lots of different scans and tests, but nothing was diagnosed. Again, the pain went away so I continued with my dancing training. I joined a specialist performing arts sixth form.
“During a dance competition, I ran across the stage and suddenly heard a loud ‘bang’. I wondered what the sound was, but as they say ‘the show must go on’ so I continued to perform, despite being in agony. After the competition, I had to rest my foot for six weeks – once the swelling had gone down, I discovered I no longer had an arch in my foot. Doctors then realised that the pain I had been experiencing was because my arch had been slowly collapsing.
“It became a serious problem. I could no longer dance properly. I couldn’t jump, I had no balance and couldn’t stand on one leg without falling over. Every time I tried to dance, my foot would swell up.
“I was then granted a full scholarship to Urdang, the best school for dance in the country. The previous year, I had been offered a place without funding which wasn’t an option as I couldn’t afford the fees. After I was offered the scholarship, I went to see the Urdang physiotherapists, but they didn’t know what was wrong and sent me home because I couldn’t dance.
“Finally, a specialist diagnosed that my arch had collapsed and that my spring ligament was overstretched. Unable to dance, I was forced to leave Urdang but, hopeful that I would be able to recover, I deferred my place for a year.
“I waited and waited for a date for the operation but months passed and I heard nothing. The consultant said my best bet would be to go private but we couldn’t afford it.
My injury took a toll on everything I love. I thought it was the end of my dream.
“Then, the Almoner from my dad’s Lodge put me in touch with the Masonic Charitable Foundation. I had my operation earlier this year. The prognosis is that I will be able to dance again and I hope to rejoin Urdang next year.”
“I can’t put into words how grateful I am. I wish I could sit down and personally thank everyone who has helped in any way – those who donate, the Almoners, the staff… I am eternally grateful.”