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Teenager with epilepsy continues to pursue dance career
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Wednesday, April 29, 2015 1:47PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 29, 2015 1:48PM MDT
From a young age, Cameron Sparling dreamed of becoming an Irish dancer.
The dream was temporarily halted when, as a fourth grade student, he experienced a grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Cameron’s mother recalls the terrifying ordeal.
“The most poignant moment for me was watching him in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) with a team of doctors around him,” said Natasha Sparling. “The first thought that went through my head was that he loves to Irish dance and he's not gonna be able to do this again.”
Natasha says her initial concern was replaced by deep gratitude when Cameron awoke the next day.
Cameron, now 13 years old, says his fear that his future in dance could be jeopardized was quashed by his doctor.
“One of the first questions that I asked was if I could still dance,” said Cameron. “Dr. Bello said that I shouldn't let having epilepsy stop me from doing anything that I love.”
Pediatric neurologist Dr. Luis Bello-Espinosa explained Cameron’s dancing could continue and physical activity was encouraged for patients with epilepsy.
“Cameron did not have any deterrent,” said Dr. Bello-Espinosa. “He just went ahead.”
“I'm just amazingly surprised at how well he's done.”
In addition to the epilepsy diagnosis, Cameron has asthma. Dance has benefits for both of the teenager’s ailments.
“The more activity, the better it’s going to be for the brain,” explains Dr. Bello-Espinosa. “The better it's going to be for the lungs and also for his self-esteem.”
Natasha Sparling says the epilepsy has affected Cameron's balance but she's inspired by his dedication to overcome that concern.
Cameron recently competed at the World Irish Dancing Championships in Montreal and the teenager continues to pursue a future career in dance.
“I think it would be nice to be on an Irish dancing show like Riverdance or Heartbeat of Home,” said Cameron.
For his accomplishments in the face of adversity, dancer Cameron Sparling is this week’s Inspiring Albertan.