Dad dances at daughter's wedding despite wheelchair disability

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015
VIDEO: Dancing with a disability
Dad hadn't danced in 17 years due to disability, until he learned wheelchair dancing.

SPRING CITY, Pa. (WPVI) -- The Mirror Ball trophy was awarded Monday night to Bindi Irwin of this season's "Dancing With The Stars."

But as we know, dancing isn't just for able-bodied people, and one local bride's dancing story shows that in touching fashion.

As a child, Brittany Dejean of Spring City, Chester County, loved to dance.

You could say it ran in her family.

Family video from years ago shows her father, Paul Martin, swinging and stepping across a dance floor.

So when Brittany got engaged to the love of her life, like most brides, she looked forward to the father-daughter dance.

But there was an obstacle.

Her father is now in a wheelchair, after being paralyzed 17 years ago in an accident.

"I at first told her I was going to pass it off because I didn't think I would be able to dance. It's something people in wheelchairs don't do," Martin told Action News.

Or so he thought.

But with the help of instructor Diane at RollCall WheelChair Dance, Brittany's dad found a way to dance again.

"She moved us through the motions, small motions first, and built on each individual program," he recalls.

It led to a moment Brittany says she'll cherish forever.

"I remember telling myself to consciously be in that moment because it was easy to let it go by so quickly," she says, reveling in memories of that time.

"It was fantastic," Martin says.

Not only did he dance with his daughter, he kept dancing, the entire night.

"I don't know if it was very pretty but I had a heck of a lot of fun," he says with a smile.

Brittany hopes their story can inspire others.

She started 'Able Thrive,' a website that collects and presents articles and videos from around the world to show how people can live well with a disability.

And she and her father gave their thanks to RollCall WheelChair Dance for making their dream come true.

This area is also home to American Dance Wheels Foundation, which teaches ballroom and Latin dance, and promotes wheelchair dancing in schools and throughout the community.

It's program has been in the Philadelphia schools since 2006.