Friday, 7 October 2011
Tonight I was working one of my pet projects and I had to share this with you.
Its a small room, with a small crowd, 21 kids and a handful of "Leaders" and we're bopping along to an assortment of Top40 dance tracks, party stuff from the last few years and those die hard party classics that you cant kill with a stick.
The kids are enjoying it all, being kids and running around like they've been doing double shots of espresso washed down with a redbull.
I notice a few of them huddling around someone on the dance floor, and I think to myself that something, or someone's gone down. Then they all get down on their knees and start to dance while kneeling. A wheel chair gets pushed out of the huddle and rolls gently to the wall. In the middle of the huddle there is a young lady with the biggest smile and some dance moves that MJ would have copied if he'd seen them. These guys are having a blast, loud music, great friends and junk food. Just like every youth disco I've ever done, just like everyone you've ever seen. Except they're on their knees dancing? A few more songs and the wheel chair gets rolled back onto the floor and a young man gets whirled around in it for a bit, pushed by the girl with the smile and the fancy moves. Most of her fingers are only one knuckle long, and both her legs are amputated well below the knees, and tonight, shes the best dancer on my floor.
These kids all suffer with Juvenile Arthritis, and its not the kind of arthritis that make your joints a little stiff, or makes it a little hard to get up in the morning. This is Arthritis with attitude. This is Arthritis that takes digits and limbs, it fuses femurs to hips, and causes these kids pain that brings them to tears.
But not tonight, not for the time they're on my floor. 10.30pm rolls around way to soon, its time to packup my gear and head the 100kms home. Shes still laughing and dancing with her friends, I play one more, and another few for good measure. Its Midnight when the "Leaders" and I decide that we really should wrap it up. The kids all gather around and form a circle, arms draped over each others shoulders as they sing at the top of their lungs to Freddie and the boys - "We are the champions" and they are.