THE vital importance of a ballet gala to raise funds to help a four-year-old disabled Woking boy receive specialist medical treatment in the USA has been terrifyingly brought home to his family once again.
Dexter Summerscales-Heard was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, suffers with epilepsy, is unable to speak and is fully reliant on his wheelchair and family to assist his daily activities.
Nor is Dexter able to eat orally. Doctors found that his swallowing function was diverting food into his lungs, instead of his stomach – posing a critical threat of respiratory failure. Doctors have said he could even drown in his own saliva.
Determined to help Dexter, the youngster’s aunt and uncle, international principal ballet dancers Laurretta Summerscales and her husband Yonah Acosta – who live in Kingfield, near Dexter and his family – have put together a gala, Dancing for a Dream.
The gala will be held at the New Victoria Theatre on Sunday 10 November and features some of the world’s top dancers, including principals and soloists from the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet and the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich.
“It is so important we get this money,” said Lauretta, “and we’ve just had another reminder why. The other day Dexter had to go to A&E. There was a scare that he had pneumonia and his sats (oxygen levels) were dangerously low.
“This was caused by him simply having a cold, which causes, as in all of us, extra saliva and mucus, which he was swallowing into his lungs. In turn, this was making it extremely difficult for him to breathe.
“It highlighted the very fact that this isn’t just to get him eating again, but to try and make having a basic cold not become life-threatening for him.
“We’ve sold about 900 tickets but have still got about 400 to go. To fill the theatre would be amazing.”
“Our only hope is to secure significant funding, which will allow Dexter to travel to a specialist centre in the USA, called NAPA, where he can undergo the treatment,” Laurretta added.
She aims to raise £30,000, which would pay for two visits to NAPA, including flights and accommodation. “Dexter has a place booked at NAPA for 25 January for three weeks, so we have to get the funds.
“We also have items that have been donated from such wonderful dancers as Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo, Marianela Nunez, Alina Cojocaru, Roberto Bolle, Vadim Muntagirov, as well as tickets for Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Northern Ballet. They are being auctioned until the day after the gala at www.jumblebee.co.uk/dancingforadream.”
To buy tickets for the gala, please visit www.atgtickets.com/woking or call on 08448717645.
For the full story get the 31 October edition of the News & Mail.