Wigan pensioner looks forward to dancing on her 100th birthday
A 99-year-old dancing queen thought her ballroom days were behind her when a serious hip injury left her wheelchair-bound.
But thanks to a remarkable rehabilitation programme at care village Belong Wigan, the plucky Strictly fan is now back on her feet, with the hope of tapping those twinkle toes once again by her 100th birthday later this year.
Other news: Family fundraiser in aid of poorly Wigan tot TheoMay Choraffa’s story attracted national interest when her progression from wheelchair to walking frame was recognised by the NHS as a flagship case study in the Leading Change, Adding Value programme, designed to showcase best practice in transforming health outcomes.
The lifelong ballroom dancer began her recovery at the Platt Bridge-based village in January 2018, after a major hip impairment left her unable to walk.
Determined to get back on the dance floor, May embarked upon a rehabilitation journey in the care operator’s gym, with the help of specialist fitness instructors and state-of-the-art exercise equipment.
Now, a year into her personal programme, May has said goodbye to her wheelchair, is strong enough to walk with just the help of a frame, and has set herself a target to dance again by her 100th birthday in May.
May said: “The exercise programme has changed my life.
“I never thought I would be able to walk again, but thanks to my fitness instructor Ryan and the amazing facilities in the gym, I don’t have to hang up my dancing shoes just yet.
“I now have the strength and confidence to be the active and independent person I always have been and I can’t wait to get back on the dance floor for my birthday celebrations.”
Exercise instructor Ryan Cadman said: “May is a lovely lady and it has been incredible to see her mobility go from strength to strength over the last year.
“I’m really proud of how far she has come and thrilled that all of our hard work has paid off. I hope May’s story will help others, just like her, get back on their feet.”
A spokeswoman for the award-winning retirement village said: “Belong is committed to supporting people to live well through exercise and, as such, all Belong village customers have access to an exercise studio equipped with specialist equipment, which is supervised by instructors qualified in fitness and exercise for older people.”
Belong Limited is a charitable organisation. It operates villages providing a range of care, housing and support options for older people, as well as extensive amenities in the village centre.
These include bistro, hair salon, exercise studio and function rooms, all of which are open to the public as well as to the Belong community. People can choose to live independently in a Belong apartment or within a supported 24-hour care environment.
Belong specialises in supporting people with dementia, and 24-hour care is provided in extended family sized households, with modern layouts specially designed around the needs of people with dementia. All employees working in Belong villages are trained in dementia awareness, from domestic assistants through to bistro staff.