FULL IRISH DANCE COVERAGE FROM SAN FRANCISCO
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This time two years ago Delaney Michael from Sacramanto was in a wheelchair. Suffering from a mystery illness, the young dancer feared she would never walk again, let alone dance again.
The 15-year-old student of the Claddagh School of Irish Dance remembers the agony she endured and says it's impossible to put into words. "I can't even explain how it felt," she said.
Who is to credit for Delaney's recovery? Her mom, as both Delaney and her dad Jim point to Delaney's mom Jane.
Jane researched every symptom of Delaney's mystery illness and found a likely diagnosis - Reflex Neurovascular Distrophy - a condition where the nerves in the body tell the brain there is intense pain.
A trip to a specialist in Philadelphia confirmed Jane's suspicions and then Delaney embarked on a marathon regime of physical therapy to regain her strength and get past the pain.
The pain from Reflex Neurovascular Distrophy is so much that even the strongest painkillers can not work on it. Brave Delaney endured eight hours of physical therapy every day .
Howwever, despite the pain and the obstacles Delaney still attended dance class in her wheelchair.
On the good days, when the pain wasn't shooting through her arms, she practiced her routines with her fingers.
After 12 months of the intense physical therpay Delaney was able to get back on her feet.
Mom Jane says that all the other moms were crying at Delaney's first post-recovery feis.
The tough times she has been through makes Irish dancing all the more special to Delaney.
"I'm happy just to compete, and to move without pain," she says.