At the age of 17, aspiring ballet dancer Christa Calitz’s dreams were dashed when a freak accident left her severely injured and facing the possible amputation of a foot.
She had fallen out of a moving bus, was dragged beneath it, her foot left barely attached to her leg by just one artery.
“I was terrified of the idea of losing my leg. I never realised exactly how bad my injuries were until the day the surgeon made me look at it... once I knew how severe they were, I had feelings of shock, sadness, anger... and I was in denial for many years,” she told Parent24, recalling her personal turmoil following the horrific accident.
Her injuries were so severe that doctors advised her that she would never walk again.
"I didn't dance for 21 years"
“Months after the [initial] operation I saw an orthotist, who showed me all the latest technology and inventions for prosthetics,” Christa said, revealing that it was somewhere in that moment she found her motivation to prove the initial diagnosis wrong.
“I think after this I decided deep down that this was not going to be my life,” she said.
Determined to keep her foot, Christa spent the next four years in rehabilitation. “I had to undergo various smaller operations and received biokinetic therapy on and off for about three years,” she said, adding that she also received physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
Christa believes her strength, resolve and dedication to overcome her ordeal came from her parents and upbringing.
“I honestly don’t really know how I managed to go on with life. As life goes on around you it is a survival mechanism that kicks in. If it wasn’t for my family and how I was raised, I don’t think I would have been able to have fought the battle I did. I was strong then and I am strong now because of them.”
The tragic happenings would have been a blow to anyone, but for an aspiring dancer, it was devastating twice over.
“If ballet is such a big part of your life for such a long period of time, it is sure to be imprinted on your life forever,” says Christa who had fallen in love with the sport at the age of 5, and while in high school, had planned on becoming a pro.
“After my ordeal, I did not dance for 21 years. It was even too painful to watch dancing shows on TV.”
"And then I watched my toddler dance"
Yet despite her dashed hopes, Christa’s love of dance was once again reignited after the birth of her daughter, Mayah. At the age of just 2, Maya began to take an interest in dance and by 3 the toddler was enrolled in ballet classes. Christa says it was after seeing Mayah dance at a concert that she decided to start classes again.
“In August 2016 I attended a dance show at our ballet studio (Stellenbosch Ballet Association). This just sparked the urge to dance again. I was at the studio one day, picking up my daughter from ballet class and I took the opportunity to ask the instructor if I could join one of the classes.”
Today, Christa is the recipient of the Deep Heat Urban Athlete for Inspirational Comeback award – a campaign that seeks to honour everyday heroes.
Despite the award, the mom is very careful about giving advice to others facing similar circumstances.
“I am not always sure if I can or should give advice. I certainly did not think I was fortunate when people told me ‘you were lucky to have survived’. It was something for them to say. I think my story will be the advice. I am a living example of God’s endless love for us and that is why you should never let go of dreaming.”
The mom of two (Christa is also mom to 5-year-old Helena) genuinely is a inspiration.
Do you have a remarkable story to share? Have your kids inspired you to follow your dreams? Tell us by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish your letter.
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