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Motivation: Disability Not Inability for This One-Legged Tap Dancer

A cancer diagnosis can be devastating. After that, it is a race against time. And big fight for one’s very existence. For one young man, it meant losing a large part of one of his limbs. A leg. And he was a dancer, a tap dancer to be exact. But Evan Ruggiero, 28, vowed to continue dancing. Watch him in action in this video.

At age 19, Evan Ruggiero was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of potentially deadly bone cancer. It meant that one of his legs would have be amputated above the knee. It was the only way to save his life. Ruggiero had been studying musical theater – singing, acting, and tap dancing. He vowed to continue dancing as an amputee.

And there’s the first lesson we learn from this courageous young man: resilience when faced with adversity. Bad, sometimes devastating, things will happen to us. How you respond to them is what matters. You may cry (we are humans after all). But giving in is the worst thing you can do.

Another thing is acceptance of the inevitable. And making the best of one’s new reality. Ruggiero accepted that he now was one-legged and made the best of it.

Ruggiero also accepts that he is not the dancer he was when he had two legs. This helps in making himself the best he can be as he is today.

It also helps to find inspiration in people who have gone through a similar experience. They may not be people you know, as some experiences are not all that common. Ruggiero went on YouTube. There he found inspiration (and strength) in a one-legged tap dancer from back in the days, Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates.

And then we have to deal with the low days. The blues, if you like. For any normal person, these will inevitably come, often accompanied by the question, “Why me?” Ruggiero acknowledges that there have been dark days for him.

That’s when you lean the people and things you love. For Ruggiero support and family and friends, and his love for performing kept him going during those dark days.

Related: She Was Told She Would Never Walk, She Became a Star Athlete

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