If anyone deserves to take a bow, it’s Adam King, and this weekend he got to do just that following his debut at the Cork Opera House.
The fun-loving four-year-old was centre stage for a couple of numbers at the Sinéad Sheppard School of Dance end of year showcase.
No one could ever have predicted this achievement for a child whose very survival outside the womb was once in doubt.
Except perhaps Ms Sheppard herself who met Adam the day after he left the neonatal unit at Cork University Maternity Hospital.
“She said ‘We’ll get him on stage one day’,” explains Fiona King, Adam’s mother, recalling how Adam first met Sinéad while Fiona was collecting his sibling Danny from dance class in Cobh.
Adam, of Ballymakeagh Beg, Killeagh, Co Cork, was diagnosed, at 24 weeks gestation, with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a brittle bone condition which, in its most severe form, is not compatible with life. The condition causes stunted growth and repeated painful fracturing.
Adam had fractures all over his body in utero and Fiona and Adam’s dad, David, opted to travel to Sweden during the pregnancy for revolutionary stem-cell treatment.
So far, Adam’s progress has been astonishing, although an accident in 2017 led him with a fractured left femur and last year, he broke his right femur.
Since May 2018 however, he has been fracture-free.
“This time last year he was in a cast after breaking his right femur but he’s been perfect since then,” Fiona says.
“He had a great winter, no antibiotics, he’s never sick. He’s a pretty healthy child.”
He’s been especially good since he got a new wheelchair this time last year, after a long wait.
“It’s given him a new lease of life, he’s well able to manoeuvre it in Fota Wildlife Park, in the playground, he can manage away himself,” Fiona says.
Adam is due to start school in September and has already had his induction day at Clonpriest National School, between Killeagh and Youghal.
At the weekend, he joined his older siblings Danny (10), Katie (8), Robert (6) for their Opera House performance. He performed in ‘A Friend Like Me’ from the movie Aladdin and an older number, ‘Lollipop’.
Fiona and David were in the audience, as were his grandmother and aunt.
“We were bursting with pride,” Fiona says. “He loves performing.”