Kate Stanforth has been a dancer since she was 8 years old. But one morning, when she was 14, Kate woke up and felt so unwell, she could barely move. Kate quickly deteriorated and was eventually diagnosed with ME.
ME, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a chronic illness that impacts every aspect of the person's life. The main symptom of ME is fatigue, being so tired you cannot function, resting without feeling refreshed, sleeping for hours on end with no improvement in energy levels. ME also impacts muscle strength, cognitive actions such as memory, and pain sensitivity.
After her diagnosis, Kate started to use a wheelchair to help manage her symptoms. However, she faced the thought she would have to leave the world of dancing behind. But now, age 26, Kate has built herself up to open her own dance school and teaches ballet from her wheelchair. Her videos have gone viral online, getting over 1.5 million likes on TikTok.
Kate explains that her main passion is to improve accessibility for disabled people, particularly in the dance industry. Kate emphasised her love of dance, explaining that after having to give up her pre-professional dance training at 14 when she suddenly became ill, she had to adapt to the 'new me'. Teaching from her wheelchair, Kate specialises in inclusive dance classes. She even set up her own online inclusive dance event with West-End stars so that disabled people could have the same opportunity to dance with the stars. The event itself was of course, was all adapted and subtitled.
To find out more about Kate and her amazing work, head to www.katestanforth.com !