Here is a heartwarming story about overcoming adversity – just in time for the Holiday Season!
Elias Martin was born with a heart defect, requiring him to undergo three open heart surgeries by the age of four. During his third surgery, he experienced a massive stroke, requiring extensive brain surgery and a lengthy hospital stay.
As a result of this ordeal, Elias was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, with considerable weakness on his left side. He needed to re-learn how to speak, swallow, and walk. He still has difficulty with his vision and endurance. He walks with ankle-foot orthotics and uses a wheelchair for longer distances.
However, Elias is a tenacious young man. His strong will, good humour, and can-do spirit serve him well as he continues with his rehabilitation therapy, and prepares for the ongoing surgeries he will need as he grows.
Elias was enrolled in the Pre-kindergarten early-intervention program at École Corinthia Park School in Leduc at age three. He successfully completed the program, and now is in Grade 5 at the school.
“I have never met a student with so much determination,” said Principal Shelly McCubbing. “When Elias sets his heart and mind on something, there is no backing down. He has overcome so many obstacles, and yet he continues to move forward with much grit and perseverance. We are so incredibly proud of him!”
The Citadel Theatre recognizes the importance of authentic representation of different bodies and abilities on stage and in the stories they tell. For the role of Tim in ‘A Christmas Carol’, they invited children with lived experience or experience with disability to apply.
According to their statement, the theatre understands “that it is our responsibility to move away from disability tropes or caricatures in our production of this classic tale…to ensure our “Tim” has independence, agency, and is a well rounded character that is not defined by his size or disability. This is why we call him “Tim,” and not “Tiny Tim.”
“Like most other ten-year-olds, Elias loves Lego and hanging out with his friends,” said Cecile Cormier, his mother. “Finding appropriate extracurricular activities has proven to be difficult due to his physical limitations, so we are very grateful for him to be celebrated in this long-running live show for his different abilities.”
“Although he had no previous acting experience, they saw his raw talent and willingness to learn,” she said. “Elias learned the script within days, and even has a singing solo in the show. He says acting brings him joy, and he wants to be a comedian when he grows up.”
Elias’ story is deeply inspiring to all who hear it, and a vivid example of what you can accomplish despite facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles – know that if you keep trying, you will eventually succeed.
And as Charles Dickens’ beloved character says, “God bless us, every one!”