Let’s help our fellow dancer…Darren Hammond!!

Meet Darren Hammond, a young Professional Latin dancer originally from South Africa now living in Hong Kong.  Darren has recently reached out to us letting us know of his current situation.  Unfortunately, he has recently had some serious health issues that required immediate surgery which undoubtedly takes a toll emotionally, financially, and time off from dancing.  We at the WDC Competitors Commission would like to share with you his story in hopes that you will help support him on his road to recovery.  We have set up a GoFundMe Campaign here where donations can be made on his behalf.  Here’s his letter to us and we hope we can all come together to help our fellow dancer!

“Most of you may not know, but I have been suffering with a condition known as FAI (Femero Acitabular Impingement), a condition where extra bone grows abnormally across the hip joint.  There are 2 types of FAI:

1. The extra bone growth is on the hip socket.

2. The extra bone growth is on the head of the femur.

I, unfortunately and unusually, had BOTH types on BOTH hips.  

I had noticed some sort of discomfort in my hips for at least the last 10 years, but only within the last 2 years had it really affected me to the point where I had to take serious action.  Because, not only was it affecting my dancing, forcing me to take out many figures and adapt choreography and even my way of moving, but the pain was forcing shorter and shorter practice hours being replaced with Physical Therapy, Massage, Chiropractor, Acupuncture and Stretch Therapy every week.  But still my condition was deteriorating.  It got to the point where I was having difficulty sleeping through the pain, constantly limping, lifting my leg with my hand getting in and out of the car, and Milla having to literally help with putting on my shoes and socks.

After an X-Ray in November 2017 I knew it was starting to get more serious.  So, in August 2018 I had my first MRI Scan.  The diagnosis was: 

*2 types of impingement on both hips

*Severe degenerative arthritis

*Osteophytes (extra bone, bone spur )

*Joint effusion

*Multiple loose bodies (pieces of broken off bone) 

* 1 cm Para-labaral cyst in the right hip

*Osseous cyst on the left

*Labaral tear 

Scary, to say the least!

I had previously met with specialists in South Africa, Hong Kong, London, China, Denmark and the USA.  On our most recent trip to LA, I was referred to Dr Steve Yoon, specialist in PRP injections and stem cell therapy.  He studied my scans and immediately referred me to Dr Michael Banffy M.D. leading surgeon and one of a handful of doctors that can perform this specific surgery on both hips in one procedure, known as a Bilateral Hip Arthroscopy.  So, with a warning from both doctors that any further damage would result in me having to have full double hip replacement within the next 2 years, we decided, no matter the cost, we would have to go ahead with the surgery.

We, unfortunately, did not have time to plan ahead for all of this, it was very last minute. I was told that after surgery I would not be able to fly for 4 weeks, so our 4 day trip turned into a 5 week trip.  Due to unforeseen travel, accommodation and living expenses, along with post op treatment and equipment, it has been a challenging period for both of us physically, emotionally, and, of course, financially.  The down side of course is time off dancing, and not being able to work.  But, any improvement will make it totally worth it as I could not carry on any longer like that.

We are confident that I will make a full recovery and have many more years left of dancing in my new hips.  Thank you for taking the time to hear my story, and for your continued support! 

Yours in Dance,

Darren and Milla”

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