Vickie, co-founder of Liberate Dance, shares her story.
"Hey guys! I’m Vickie Simmonds and I’m 28 years old. I grew up with a love for dance and performance, but when I was 22 I was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and at age 25 it caused me to become paralysed.
Recently due to declining health, a day in the life of me has become lots of bed rest and sleep! But I enjoy chilling with my dog Dudley and always look forward to dance every Saturday.
I started Liberate Dance classes because I was desperate for an opportunity to dance and meet others like me. After my injury, my role model was Chelsie Hill of the LA Rollettes, a wheelchair dance company in California, and her passion for life as a woman with a spinal cord injury really kept me going in dark days. I craved meeting other people like myself, and with nothing like the Rollettes in the U.K., my best friend Amanda helped me learn to use my chair as a celebration of movement and helped me to dance again. With the support of Momentum, we co-founded Liberate Dance and I will forever be grateful to them and Amanda for making this dream a reality.
I feel so lucky to have met so many incredible, beautiful people through Liberate, and to now call them my friends. I’m so excited to be going through this journey with them all. Every Saturday we get together and just have the best time, and the confidence and positivity that grows from our time together means the world to me.
I’m so thankful to everyone who supports Liberate and makes it a safe and positive environment for us all to come to, and can’t wait to keep meeting new friends and welcoming them into our dance family!!"