Dancer With MS Defies the Odds
Was told she could never walk again
By TOM LLAMAS
Updated 8:00 PM EDT, Wed, Sep 16, 2009
Print Email Share Buzz up!TWITTER FACEBOOK
Allison Bryant Since she was 5, all Allison Bryant ever wanted to do was dance. She performed in competitions, earned a fine arts degree and choreographed her life to open a dance studio on Long Island.
Then the unthinkable happened.
"I started to lose my coordination, and to be honest I thought maybe it was that I wasn't as good as I thought I was," says Bryant.
Talent wasn't the problem. When she was 24, Allison found out that Multiple Sclerosis -- MS -- was attacking her brain and spinal cord. She was told she was never going to walk again.
"Not only was I never going to dance again, I was never going to walk again and I was never going to get married. I wasn't going to have kids. I wasn't going to hold down a job ... I was going to be on disability my whole life," Bryant says.
Allison spent four years away from dancing while battling the disease. She experimented with various medications, hoping for a miracle. Last year, she started to feel her legs again.
"I tried standing one night when no one was looking I called my entire family into the room and I could stand," says Bryant.
She spent three months in physical therapy at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. Her physical therapist Tom Focarile says he's never seen a patient recover as fast as Allison did. He credits the medication Novatron, which Allison started, and her positive thinking in her recovery.
"By the time she left she was, she's a dancer, she was pirouetting down the halls," says Focarile.
Allison still remembers the first dance she was able to complete after therapy.
"I remember doing the Cha Cha Cha, and my body was moving again and it felt so good. It just made me so happy," says Bryant.
So Allison is now back in the studio. She started teaching classes this week in Huntington. She’s offering special needs children free classes.
"I've had so many people help me out that I feel it's my turn to give back," says Bryant,
Starting a small business in this economy will be tough, but she's tougher.
First Published: Sep 16, 2009 6:44 PM EDT
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-be ... 54882.html