Cystic fibrosis can be a very difficult condition to live with. Affecting mainly the lungs, the disease causes frequent shortness of breath and often requires an oxygen tank. Even at its most treatable, it can have a major impact on your quality of life.
But Sheila Rossi, from Boston, Massachusetts, wasn’t going to let her disease keep her down, or keep her from experiencing life’s special moments.
For her daughter’s wedding, she prepared a surprise that blew away everyone’s expectations.
Sheila has always had a strong bond with her daughter, Julia. She had raised her as a single mother, working multiple jobs even while fighting through cystic fibrosis. Her strength has never been lost on Julia.
“My mom is my best friend and my hero,” Julia told the Huffington Post. “She is the strongest, coolest, most positive person in the world who uplifts everyone around her.”
So when Julia became engaged to her boyfriend, Peter, they knew they wanted to do something special to celebrate their relationship at the wedding.
In place of the traditional father-daughter dance, they planned a unique mother-daughter dance.
The two practiced for hours in secret, preparing a routine for the big day. But of course, they had to keep Sheila’s illness in consideration. The mother had been suffering from reduced lung capacity and was using a respiratory tank.
“We had to take a lot of breaks so that my mom could catch her breath and hook up to her oxygen,” Julia told the Huffington Post.
But still, Sheila remained game as ever, and once she caught her breath the two would run the routine once again.
“She has been more sick lately,” Julia said, but of course her mother still wanted to fully embrace life.
“Doing this dance was a way to show everyone that her sickness does not define her.”
The big day arrived. After a beautiful ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island, it was time for the newlywed and her mother to hit the dance floor. And though they kept an oxygen tank nearby just in case, Sheila was ready.
After the DJ announced their cue, the two began slow-dancing to a ballad by Carrie Underwood.
Then the music changed—and they went into their real routine:
The mom and daughter launched into an energetic, hilarious, fully-choreographed routine.
The crowd watched in amazement as the two were suddenly cutting a rug to Flo Rida’s “Cake.” The pair danced to a medley of songs, including Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”
They even brought grandma into the action, who joined the dance, fittingly, during the “Golden Girls” theme song!
When Sheila posted the video to her Facebook page, she expressed great pride in the moment—that she was able to overcome her illness to make this special moment possible.
“There is NOTHING to stop you from doing something you’ve dreamed of doing,” she wrote.
“We wanted to create the most perfect memory for us and those present. I think we accomplished our mission!”
And of course, it was a special moment for Julia—who’s as proud of her mom as ever.
“Her ability to do something like this at her age, and with what should be her ‘limits,’ is so remarkable and inspiring,” she told The Huffington Post.