Ryerson dance student paralyzed after swimming accident in CubaRelease Date: 01/18/2016 Source: CTV News Staff Reference: Wendy Hope; Joan Weir
Dario Balca, CTV Toronto
A swimming accident has paralyzed a promising dance student vacationing in Cuba.
Napu Boychuk, 29, was in his fourth and final year of study at Ryerson University’s dance program.
He studied jazz, contemporary and modern styles, but ballet was his first love.
“He’s a very talented and a very passionate dancer,” said Peggy Shannon, chair of Ryerson’s theatre school. “What that means, being in his final year, is that he’s gone through four years of rigorous dance training.”
Boychuk was on vacation with his father and sister when he was caught by a strong ocean undertow and hit a rock, shattering his neck and leaving him paralyzed.
“He’s been on assisted breathing for the last 35 days or so,” said Boychuk’s friend, Sean Connor. “He’s making a lot of progress. He’s able to breathe on his own for extended periods of time now.
“From what I understand, he has feeling in both of his arms and legs, which is very encouraging, but unfortunately, he’s unable to use either at this point.”
Boychuk, who was born in Yellowknife and raised in Iqaluit, may be the only Inuk ballet dancer in the world. And the communities are rallying to help him.
In Iqaluit, they’ve already raised $11,000 to help pay for Boychuk’s rehabilitation. Connor said staff at Scallywags Bar in Toronto where Boychuk worked are planning a fundraiser for him on Friday.