Luca Patuelli can’t walk without crutches, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a breakdancing champion. It’s a passion he readily shares with other kids with disabilities who have to spend time at a Montreal rehabilitation facility. And he’s hoping to give them some relief from the stress of childhood illness.
“Whenever I have free time I try to visit the rehab centre and just spend some time with the kids,” said Patuelli, who was a headline performer for Vancouver’s 2010 Paralympic Games.
He recalled his childhood days in the hospital, where he received treatment for a condition that caused the muscle in his legs to develop slower than it should.
“It was extremely difficult. There was moments where it was extremely boring,” he said.
But the 15-minute visits from a volunteer clown “were priceless because that distracted me from what I was feeling in the hospital,” he said.
Patuelli, who is one-fifth of a breakdancing group called the Ill Abilities, visits a local rehabilitation centre and teaches other kids with disabilities to express themselves through dance.
“Anyone can create a movement and make it theirs … It’s all about adapting yourself.”