When people have a true passion or calling, it seems like nothing in the world can stop them pursuing it. Even when life puts big obstacles in their path, they still find a way to overcome every challenge and follow their hearts. That’s the case for young Abri Bentley, an 11-year-old dancer who has already battled through some of life’s toughest moments.
Abri was only a young girl when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, known as Ewing’s Sarcoma. This type of cancer only tends to affect children and young people and involves tumors growing in or around the bones.
Luckily, the cure rate for Ewing’s Sarcoma is high, but patients often have to undergone chemotherapy and surgery to remove the affected parts of their bodies. In Abri’s case, an amputation was necessary.
Losing a leg is hard enough for anyone, let alone a child, and it was made even worse by the fact that Abri’s ultimate passion in life is dancing. The young girl, who hails from Scottsdale, Arizona, has enjoyed dancing from an early age, but didn’t know how she’d be able to cope after her surgery.
Naturally, she worried that trying to dance with a prosthetic leg would be a huge challenge, but she wasn’t going to give up on her dreams without a fight. When her recovery was complete, Abri immediately started doing all she could to train up, and one man inspired her all the way: Lord Peg Leg.
Lord Peg Leg is the nickname of Evan Ruggiero, a 28-year-old professional dancer who is also an amputee. Just like Abri, Evan fell in love with dancing in his childhood. He lost his leg in college to bone cancer, but he was determined to carry on dancing, no matter what.
Less than a week after his recovery, Evan was right back in the studio, training hard and adapting to the dancefloor with his new prosthetic leg.
His achievements inspired Abri, and so many other people out there who have lost a limb. So imagine how happy she was when she got to meet him!
Evan had spotted videos of Abri dancing on Instagram and was determined to meet her. He decided to organize a special surprise, inviting Abri to a 2-day, one on one training session.
Together, these two survivors danced the hours away, with Evan offering all of the benefits of his experience and expertise, guiding young Abri and giving her some top tips to help her improve.
Abri’s mom said the visit was exactly what her daughter needed. Abri had been struggling to understand how to dance with her prosthetic leg, but Evan gave her some great pointers and really inspired her.
Even with the odds stacked against them, these inspiring people beat cancer and are still enjoying the things they love the most.
Check out the wonderful video below, showing the moment Abri met Evan for the first time and some clips from their training.
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