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Cystic fibrosis doesn't keep dancer from stage

December 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A ballet dancer in Riverside is facing more than the usual obstacles like sore feet and sprained ankles. Adam Young has cystic fibrosis and can't go anywhere without his oxygen tank. This weekend, Adam is going against doctor's orders by returning to the stage. Ballet dancer Adam Young has performed for practically his entire life. Like most dancers, he loves the stage.

"It's my favorite thing to do, to perform on stage, absolutely," said Adam.

But he now performs with a couple of things most ballet dancers don't have: an oxygen tank and a long tube. The 28-year-old dancer lives with cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease that often ends in death at a very young age.

"When I was born, they told my parents that I would live to be about 9 years old," said Adam."The problem with cystic fibrosis is that you're not able to get up the thick mucus that builds up and fight the infections in your lungs, and being so active helped me break that up and get a lot of it out."

But about three years ago, things took a turn for the worse.

"I started getting really sick to where I couldn't control it anymore," said Adam.

Doctors told him he had to stop dancing.

"He was missing for two years. I really felt alone," said Young's wife, Hallie.

"He'd been depressed for two years and we worried about him constantly as he went more and more inside himself," said Adam's father, Richard Young.

However, great news came earlier this year when he got an offer to choreograph a dance this weekend at Riverside Community College. With his spirits sky-high, he decided he would to dance too.

"We're thrilled to see him on stage again. We don't care what the doctors think," said Richard.

But besides a chance to get back on stage, it's an opportunity to spread awareness about cystic fibrosis.

"All of the elements that you'll see in the piece are real," explained Adam. "I am dealing with oxygen. If I have to go to a chair constantly it's because I need that time to catch my breath before I continue."

He's in need of a lung transplant and is hoping there's a donor out there. For his family, there's real concern about when his last performance will be.

"I don't look at it as his last performance. I'm certain he's going to dance again," said Hallie.

But his wife Hallie believes in many ways this performance could be his best.

"I'm going to be wearing waterproof mascara," said Hallie. "But it's so wonderful to see him doing what he loves again."

Adam Young will be performing at Riverside Community College this weekend. The first performance is on Friday, and then two more on Saturday.


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