'Miracle' boy's dancing to decorate new Sick Kids hospital

His mother was told he may never walk.
Evan with his artworkEvan with his artwork
Evan with his artwork

A teenager who defied predictions that he may never be able to eat, talk or walk has had his passion for dancing transformed into artwork at the new Sick Kids hospital building.

Evan Glass, 13, battled through his first two hours of life and mum Danni was told he may never eat, talk or walk.

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He has been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, mild ataxia, ADHD and autism.

But since birth he has been surprising medical experts with his resilience, and five years ago he enrolled into Step Out dance classes run by Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) and Dance Base.

Through dance, Evan completely transformed the way he moves, improving his fluidity, balance and confidence.

Now he has taken part in a programme run by ECHC to install artworks into the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) building when it opens next year.

To create the artwork, he and Dance Base instructor Christina Liddell wore sensors on their wrists and ankles which tracked their movements as they danced together.

These movements were digitalised and coloured, then transformed into the piece of artwork now displayed for all to see on entering the new children’s hospital.

“I was given the news that every mum fears after giving birth – I was told that my baby wouldn’t make it. Doctors still can’t believe he is here but he is proving everybody wrong!” said Evan’s mother Danni.

“Since beginning ECHC’s Step Out dance classes, Evan has come on leaps and bounds. His movements used to be quite stiff and robotic but now he moves much more fluidly.

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“His balance has also really improved but where we have seen the biggest changes are in his confidence – it has really helped to bring him out of himself.”

She added: “Evan is my little miracle. I am so, so proud of everything that he has achieved. He just forgets everything when he dances and loses all of his anxieties – it’s just wonderful to watch.

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“He was so excited to take part in the making of the artwork with Christina and thinks the finished piece is the greatest thing ever. I never realised it would be as big as it is – it’s absolutely amazing!

“When he first saw it, he was so chuffed and wanted to take photos from every angle. It’s just incredible to think that his artwork is now on display for people to see in the hospital forever.”

Fiona O’Sullivan, Arts Programme Manager at ECHC, said: “We are all so proud of just how far Evan has come with the help of our partnership with Dance Base. Since starting out, he has danced with Christina at a number of our events and he always steals the show!

“Our Arts Programme doesn’t just provide distraction for children in hospital – it achieves real results that help to improve patients’ health and wellbeing.

“Evan is testament to this and we are thrilled that his artwork is now on display at the RHCYP so visitors can see just how remarkable he is.”

ECHC has funded over £3.1million worth of enhancements at the new hospital to give children and young people a “positive hospital experience”.

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