Dancing back to the top after beating disease
A TEENAGER struck down by a debilitating illness is preparing to compete to be the best Irish dancer in the world.
Macauley Selwood was hoping to improve on taking second place at the world championships when he became so unwell that he had to take almost a year out of dancing.
The Whitchurch 16-year-old was so unwell that at times he was left in agony on the floor unable to move, let alone dance.
He went on to be diagnosed with the bowel disease Crohn's and once doctors at Bristol Children's Hospital managed to get his medication under control Macauley was able to return to his beloved Irish dancing.
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Now, after about a year off, he is training to compete in the next world championships in Boston in April, having won the British National championships this autumn.
Crohn's is a bowel disease caused by inflammation of the lining of the digestive system which can cause painful symptoms, including abdominal pain and cramping, fatigue, recurring diarrhoea and weight loss.
Macauley said: "After I was diagnosed I had the world championships and wanted to do it but I knew I wasn't well enough."
He did not have the energy to dance while he was unwell, although despite being unwell he came fifth at the All Ireland championships in 2011.
The former Broadlands School pupil, who started dancing when he was six, had to work through nutrition drinks, steroids and injections of medication to find the best treatment to suit him and since they worked it out.
"I am not the sort of person who would sit around and be sad about it, I just got on with it really," he said.
"I think you have to have the right mood to get on with things like that and I don't get symptoms at all now."
Macauley, who works at Tesco when he is not training in Birmingham, takes iron tablets on top of his Crohn's medication and has to have monthly blood tests.
The teenager, who lives with mum Sarah and dad Gerald, went to Dublin, taking part in a show called Take The Floor, where he was among a group of dancers who had to learn a show in ten days and perform it on television.
He had to look after himself and ensure he was taking his medication, something which he feels was a great test for the future when he hopes to join touring productions of shows such as Lord of the Dance.
Macauley's medical care has transferred from the children's hospital to Bristol Royal Infirmary, which was helped by a special transition evening where he was able to meet the doctors and nurses who would be taking over his care.
"I want to go into shows when I'm 17 or 18 touring around the world. When I was ill I worried what I was going to do; going into shows is my dream.
"I think it was good to have something to aim for. I wanted to come back to dancing to get better and I think it was good to have that ambition.
"Now I am training for the world championships and hopefully to win in Boston."