Raegan | Mclaren & Hayes Families Scholarship for the Preforming Arts for 2016 | 2017
My name is Raegan, most people close to me call me Rae. My love for dance starts when I was too young to remember all the details, but can share what I have been told. A month after my first birthday, I became sick for the first time. My mom took me to the pediatrician and was diagnosed with an ear infection. By the end of the week, I was transported by the Teddy Bear Ambulance to a Children’s hospital, struggling for my life in a coma. I fell into the coma because my body was in a state of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis), a condition caused when your body does not have enough insulin to break down glucose and ketones, or fatty acids, are produced and enter the bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance (metabolic acidosis).
My mom lived in a chair next to me for over a week, while I was in a coma. My parents don’t talk about that time much, but I know they were not given much hope of recovery for me and I know they prayed a lot for me. These events led up to the life changing reality that my family and I would face: I have an auto-immune disease called Type 1 Diabetes aka Juvenile Diabetes. Also, while in the ER and attempts to establish a lifeline in my groin, the main artery collapsed and caused a blood clot. When I came out of my coma, not only did my parents have to undergo diabetes education, but I also started a year-long treatment plan to try and dissolve the blood clot. I still have the blood clot in my leg to this day, as the clot “got old”, instead of dissolving. When I was released from the hospital my life would be changed forever. I spent the next year, making weekly trips (with my mother and brother) to the specialty clinic for treatments for either my blood clot or Type 1 Diabetes. My mom was dedicated to making my life as normal as possible, so the disease did not define me. She knew I needed to be around other children, in order to learn how to “fit in”, and be active.
Evidently, at the age of three, after seeing a performance, I told my mom, “I want to be a dancer, and wear all those beautiful princess clothes.” My mom signed me up for dance lessons at Stacia’s School of Dance. That fall, my mom took me to see, The Nutcracker All Jazzed Up. When the show was over, my little brain was flooded with fantasy. I told my mom, “Momma, one day I want to dance like that. I want to be a mouse or a beautiful snowflake.” From that day I was hooked. Thirteen years later, along with eight years on the competitive dance company, during that time, and I am still dancing with Miss Stacia’s School of Dance. Dancing has been a way to physically stay active and exercise, to help balance and manage my blood glucose levels. It’s a way to express myself and challenge myself, to stay in balance and use my God given talents.
While being a part of Stacia’s School of Dance and iluv2.dance, I have been exposed to a whole new world of musical theatre, singing and acting. Ever since auditioning for musicals, I’ve been fascinated with recreating, and being another character. A character that has a different story and a different life than me, but I am able to tell their story with my own performance. I like to use my talents in dance, theatre, and voice to be an advocate for people with Type 1 Diabetes. When most kids and teens are diagnosed with T1D, they get discouraged to stay active and involved with the things they love and their passions, because diabetes becomes an obstacle to deal with, while they are just trying to fit in. Diabetes sometimes makes the victim stand out in negative ways. Diabetics also face discrimination by those around them that really do not know how to handle the disease, therefore, they draw conclusions. Some simply rather not take the time to understand it. Diabetics are different and have special needs, however, they can live normal lives. They just have to work harder at balancing their life and their disease. By dancing, singing, acting, performing and balancing school, family friends and community service, I hope to prove that although Type 1 Diabetes is a hurdle, it doesn’t have to be a wall. A disease that no one chose to have does not possess the power or have the right to take away passion and to control lives. It takes strength each day to find balance in a diet plan, blood sugar levels, exercise, and a normal life. By finding ones passion and not letting faults get in the way of pursuing ones dreams, all people, and not just those living with disabilities, can have a happy and healthy balance in their lives, that allows them to fully live to the best of their ability. With that said, I am most grateful to have received a scholarship from ILuv2.Dance, at a critical time in my life, to allow me to do what I love to do, and pursue my passion through dance and musical theater. I plan to continue to learn dance through Miss Stacia’s education, musical theatre through Family Music Theatre and director Dr. Samuel Germany, and voice from my friend Tianta Harrison. I hope to continue to be graced with such great blessings and opportunities just as I have been with this scholarship, and to always be able to strive towards my goals and keep my life in balance.