Name: Cassidy Richardson
Pillar: Arts, Music and Entertainment
What is your dream?
My dream since I was 10 years old was to dance my way around the world. I successfully auditioned recently to attend a full time dance school in Melbourne to study the Diploma of Dance, which is a two-year course. By completing this course I will be learning from industry professionals in a nurturing environment to learn the skills required to achieve my dream.
Tell us a bit about you.
In 2008 I was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome after five years of not knowing what was wrong with me and seeing many different doctors. When I was first diagnosed, the specialist told my parents that the best way to help was to find something I loved and immerse me in it. I loved dancing so that is what they did. When I am dancing it is the only time I feel free.
How have you demonstrated commitment?
I started dancing in 2006, and in the past five years have been doing as many classes as I can to learn as much as possible. I have travelled Sydney on numerous occasions for rehearsals outside of school hours and on weekends and performed at the NSW State Dance Festival, and I also represented both Kiama High School and The State Dance Ensemble at School Spectacular in 2014 and 2015. This year I was also selected to be part of The LOcREaDO Contemporary Dance company which required me to travel to Sydney every Sunday for five hours of classes.
What challenges do you face?
My biggest challenge is my Tourettes and the comorbid disorders that go hand in hand with it. Due to my many motor tics and often combined with the obsessions and compulsions, my tics can cause injuries and my injuries can then cause compulsions and obsessions so it becomes a vicious cycle.
How will you use the money?
My grant money will be used to pay to attend full time dance study in 2017. For the last two years I have been on a disability pension and my mum had to give up work to help me through school, and she has sacrificed a lot.
How do you plan to give back?
I want to raise awareness and educate others about Tourettes Syndrome, and I also want to be a role model and mentor, to show my community that with hard work, commitment and dedication, you can still achieve your goals and live your dream.