On Wednesday 14th December, John Burrow was the proud recipient of the Christine Doolan Memorial Award for 2022.
The award is given in honour of DanceSyndrome supporter Chris Doolan, who sadly passed away in 2021, and it aims to reflect the love that the DanceSyndrome family have for her that will always live on.
Chris Doolan was Pauline Hall’s sister and they both joined our Dancing Family in 2017. Everyone involved with DanceSyndrome came to love Chris for her kindness and generosity and her straight-talking, no-nonsense attitude. Chris loved all that DanceSyndrome stood for and she herself would help anyone in need. She joined in with the weekly dance sessions in Preston and further afield, travelling across the UK to hundreds of events and showcases. She was determined that Pauline would have the life she chose and never let disability be a barrier. “Nothing about me without me” was her motto, echoing DanceSyndrome’s person-centred values and mission to treat everyone equitably and with respect. Chris had experienced discriminatory practices throughout her work life and she made it clear to everyone that it was unacceptable; she would challenge anyone to break down barriers for Pauline and her peers to be included and consulted. She was vocal about how much DanceSyndrome had enabled Pauline to thrive and live her best life.
This award was created in 2021 to celebrate Chris’s life and honour the contribution she made to DanceSyndrome and to the Learning Disability community as a whole. Every year we’ll be looking for a winner who has:
– shown bravery, compassion and caring
– refused to give in when there were barriers
– challenged difficulties and overcome them
– been a great friend to others and brought joy and laughter to all.
Like Chris herself, the annual award winner leads by example with integrity and demonstrates great generosity of spirit and heart, giving us all something that we can all learn from.
In 2022, John displayed all of these wonderful attributes. John was nominated for the award by his Dance Leader colleagues because of his kind and caring nature. John joined DanceSyndrome just before lockdown in 2019 and carried on dancing throughout the pandemic when DanceSyndrome were forced to move activities online. He joined in every week on Zoom and then joined outdoor sessions too when DanceSyndrome was able to set up face to face sessions again outside in Miller Park Preston. After lockdown, John took part in DanceSyndrome’s unique Dance By Example Level 2 accredited course and his confidence has grown substantially.
John said, “DanceSyndrome has helped me so much in meeting inspiring and amazing friends who are so supportive, It has helped me push myself to be better with both my mental and physical health, It means the world to me and I can’t wait to see what it brings for the future.”
John is a brilliant dancer who is dedicated to improving his dance technique, but more than that he is thoughtful and full of empathy. He looks around and checks to see if anyone else is in need of help or support and when it is needed he offers this in a kind and compassionate way. John has a wonderful calmness about him which has a calming effect on everyone around him. John has worked very hard in his dancing in 2022 and we feel that he is a very worthy recipient of DanceSyndrome’s Christine Doolan Award for his bravery in the face of barriers and compassion towards others in his community.
Congratulations to John from everyone at DanceSyndrome!