Shall We Dance: Paul’s Story

After my dad was paralyzed in a car accident in 1998, he gave up dancing.

This might not be a big deal if you don’t like dancing, but my dad loved it. He’s the reason I love dancing, getting me started from a young age. I loved dancing in the living room with a jumbo inflatable Crayola crayon as my guitar. At his and my step-mom’s wedding when I was 10, he spun me around and threw me up with my feet kicking in the air.

Not having dancing in our lives after the accident was tough, especially at weddings. Being on a dance floor while my dad was sitting out got to me. I knew people dance in wheelchairs. My dad knew this. But each person processes their new life with paralysis differently, and he wasn’t willing to do it in a wheelchair.

I accepted his stance, until I got engaged. It was really important to me to have a father-daughter dance with my dad, and after some persuasion, he reluctantly agreed. I got married on June 6, 2015, and that night, my dad danced for the first time in almost 17 years… but here’s the thing. Once he started, he didn’t stop. My dad danced the night away, just like old times.

Watch his transformation here.

Since then, my dad’s danced at another wedding and even had his first dance lessons with my step-mom to get better. He’s a new man. Share this story so more can see that a wheelchair doesn’t have to keep you from doing what you love.

And of course, dance like no one’s watching!

Guest blogger: Brittany Dejean, founder of AbleThrive and daughter of former Magee patient Paul Martin

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