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A Personal Story of Perseverance

Mar 31, 2011

When Vylace Collins had heart surgery at the age of seven, doctors did not know exactly what her physical limitations would be as she grew older.

“We didn’t know if I would be able to dance, which really hurt me because I wanted to be a ballerina. I was really discouraged about that,” said Vylace.

Ten years later, she is able not only to dance but she has also brought a message of hope and healing to patients at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where her own surgery took place.

“I talked to the kids about how I was once discouraged by my illness,” she said. “After I talked to them about it, I did a solo dance to show them that this illness does not determine everything that will happen to you in your life.”

Vylace used her personal story and experiences to craft her Gold Award project. In one very long day spent at Texas Children’s Hospital, Vylace organized several different activities for patients and their families. She helped them make friendship bracelets, acted out a skit, read from a book she had written and danced.

“I really wanted the patients to understand that they’re cared for and that they’re not different,” said Vylace. “I went through what they went through. I wanted them to know that, even if we’re not together every day, there is something that we share and I believe in them.”

Vylace Collins on vacation after completing her Gold Award.

Throughout the day patients came and went as Vylace and the volunteers she had enlisted to help her performed their tasks. Approximately 125 patients had the opportunity to set aside their medical worries and have some fun that afternoon.

“I believe that they walked away with hope and encouragement and a desire to keep going,” said Vylace. “I definitely wanted them to understand that this might be the obstacle today, but there is a tomorrow. And I wanted them to leave with a smile on their face, which many of them did.”