In early October, Eastern Health, along with community partners welcomed Luca Patuelli to St. John’s. Luca was born with arthrogryposis, a neuromuscular disorder affecting joints and bones. He has had numerous surgeries, and as a result, has had to adjust to the new working of his body, which makes him creative and determined.
Known internationally as LAZYLEGZ, Luca travels the globe delivering a powerful message of courage, leadership, personal empowerment and disability awareness. Throughout his travels, Luca breaks down barriers with the power of dance and an attitude that we can all dance together.
While in Newfoundland Labrador, Luca LAZYLEGZ shared his story with Eastern Health employees and delivered a dance performance at the Health Sciences Centre. He performed with the international crew he created – “ILL-Abilities” is comprised of some of the world’s best differently-abled dancers. They have choreographed several theatrical dance productions and have been acknowledged by the Society of London Theatre.
Luca has described his own personal challenges, and highlighted that – with friendship, acceptance, determination and creativity – we can all overcome obstacles, a sentiment that is shared at Eastern Health.
“Just hearing his story gives me hope for the future that my 17-year-old son with cerebral palsy can reach his goals,” shared Charlotte Akerman, a social worker at Eastern Health.
LAZYLEGZ in action
Not only did LAZYLEGZ perform for Eastern Health staff, on October 6, he also performed and motivated children, adults and their families living daily with various disabilities at the Easter Seals House. The energy was uplifting and powerful. Luca’s first visit to our province will hopefully not be his last.
Luca’s message and dance has been shared internationally in person, on social media and he has has guest appearances on shows including The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Today Show, So You Think You Can Dance Canada, America’s Got Talent, Tout le Monde en Parle, Star Academie, TF-1 and Paul O’Grady. He was featured in the 2010 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies and is a current National Youth Dance Ambassador for the Canadian Dance Assembly
“The tour has been an incredible experience being able to bring this passion for adaption, doing it your own way and allowing yourself to try,” said Luca.
This tour was presented by the Arts & Culture Centres and Neighbourhood Dance Works, in partnership with Eastern Health, Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, and the Canadian National Institution for the Blind. The tour was supported by The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), Easter Seals, Memorial University, The Wellness Coalition, Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador, Rare Disease Foundation and L’Arche Avalon.
This story was written by Marjorie Scott, division manager with Eastern Health’s Children and Women’s Health program.