Disabled woman who can break bones by sneezing defies the odds by becoming a dancer
There are some people out there who won't let anything stand in the way of their dreams. No matter how challenging the obstacles facing them are, these folks will find a way to rise above them and do what they love. Like Ludwig Van Beethoven: even going deaf didn't stop the classical composer from finishing his ninth symphony. But you don't have to be world-famous to show that kind of determination. There are ordinary people all around us who exhibit that same kind of inspirational drive.
Take 25-year-old Tobi Green-Adenowo for example. Since birth Tobi has lived with a brittle bone disease known as osteogenesis imperfecta, which makes her skeletal structure so fragile that a hard sneeze could leave her hospitalised. Tobi often breaks bones, and uses a wheelchair as a result of her condition. But despite these serious impediments, this hasn't stopped her from pursuing her dream of becoming a dancer, and now her moves have made her something of a hit on social media.
Tobi was first motivated to pursue dance as a form of personal expression when she encountered a dance troupe called "Candoco", who visited the school where she was studying for her GCSEs. "One of their performers was a man who’d had both legs amputated, Tobi stated. "He made me realise for the first time that your disability didn’t have to hold you back."
Tobi was so inspired by the dancing of other disabled performers that she became the first manual-wheelchair user in the United Kingdom to take a GCSE in dance. "I actually got the curriculum changed," Tobi stated, "so that disabled people will be fairly marked. It was great, feeling I had the power to change things. With dance, the examiners are very strict about you dancing in a specific way, but there are things you can’t do in a wheelchair. I wanted to make sure that there would never be discrimination and, because of that, I ended up getting an A+."
Following her graduation from high school, Tobi studied performing arts at Croydon College and then applied for a degree in dance at Kingston University, where she was the first ever dance student in a wheelchair. In fact, the building where she was taught didn't even have wheelchair access in her freshman year. The course itself was hard, and she was forced to repeat her first year, after breaking her leg when she fell out of her chair.
Commenting on her passion, Tobi stated: "Dance is so special to me and just because I am in a wheelchair, doesn’t mean I can’t create a beautiful performance. very day is a struggle for me and some people have said I’m not a proper dancer, but I’m determined to keep going, as I want to inspire and motivate other young people like me ... I love dance so much and I knew my disability shouldn’t stop my dream. Sometimes I dance on the floor and sometimes in the wheelchair, but I can still tell stories with movement."
However, despite her many tribulations, Tobi's course is going well. She aims to graduate in dance and television studies in January 2019, and her ultimate ambition is to found a television network for people with disabilities. If you'd like to keep up with Tobi then do yourself a favour and check out her Instagram page and YouTube channel.