Throughout our lives, we will be faced with difficulties that could either make us or break us. The outcome, of course, will depend on how we handle these obstacles. Do we tackle them with courage, or do we let them pin us down?
In the case of 16-year old Sherlyn López Taborda, she tackled these challenges not just with great strength, but also with flair. This young lady is determined to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer, and being wheelchair-bound is not going to make her stop.
This teenager from Cartagena, Colombia, suffers from a severe form of osteogenesis imperfecta, which is also known as “little bone disease”. It is a genetic disorder which causes bone fragility, low bone mass, and increased susceptibility to fractures. Because of this condition, Sherlyn is now confined to a wheelchair, but she didn’t let this disadvantage keep her from doing what she loves the most: dancing.
Sherlyn has dealt with this crippling disease for as long as she can remember. She has suffered close to 20 broken bones between her childhood and teenage years.
“My bones were very fragile, and although I wanted to dance, I could not because I fractured easily,” Sherlyn said. “It was very hard to know that I could not play like ordinary children and that my dream of dancing could be truncated, but I always had faith in myself and the support of many people.”
Her biggest supporter is her mother, Yuleima, who continues to encourage Sherlyn to pursue a career in professional dancing despite all the complexities. Yuleima is all praises to her daughter Sherlyn, who she says is a source of great joy not just to her, but also to her classmates and friends who bask in her exuberant and optimistic spirit.
“Sherlyn is my only daughter. I had to be a mother and father to her, the father did not fulfill his role. I, along with my parents, have taken it forward, she is my pride and the reason for my life and I want her to be the best dancer in the world.”, Yuleima says.
Sherlyn gained internet stardom in 2015 when she started uploading short clips of herself dancing while on her wheelchair in her Instagram page, proving to the world that she is unstoppable no matter what.
Thousands watched from their screens as Sherlyn wowed with her captivating body movements, her undeniable energy radiating through her salsa, champeta, merengue, and hip hop moves. She was obviously confident in her own skin, never failing to show her smile and sass in all her dance videos.
But Sherlyn’s goal goes far beyond her dream of becoming a professional dancer. Through her videos, she wants the world to see that “people with disabilities can do anything they want to do.” She also aspires to become a social worker and encourage the disabled community to break through their mental and physical limitations.
“I will continue uploading videos and doing what makes me happy. I tell them that life is beautiful and we have to do everything that fills us with happiness, no matter what your condition. I consider myself an example for many people. I want to be a journalist and help minority groups. I dream of a more inclusive world, where there are spaces for everyone, regardless of their condition.”
Sherlyn’s so-called “disability” did not disable her, instead, it enabled her to pursue her lifelong dream. With her condition, no one would ever think that she would succeed in something that required a lot of movement – but she did! This young lady defied all odds and proved to us that our limitations exist only when we let them.
See more of Sherlyn’s impressive moves in the video below and don’t forget to share her inspiring story!