Vado Diomande, 50, has established a reputation as a distinguished performer and teacher of traditional dances from West Africa. Five years ago, however, Diomande’s career was interrupted when he suddenly became ill with a life threatening disease.
In February 2006, Diomande, founder of the Kotchenga Dance Company, collapsed in a restaurant he went to after a performance in Pennsylvania. An ambulance was called and he was rushed to a hospital.
“They check everything and they said that my heart no good, and everything no good,” Diomande said.
Diomande’s condition later became critical. What followed was worry and confusion as doctors tried to find a diagnosis.
They knew it was something very, very serious,” said Lisa Diomande, Vado’s wife. “But they didn’t know what to do.”
Eventually, the Center for Disease Control concluded that what Diomande had was naturally occurring anthrax. He was the first to fall ill with the disease in 30 years.
Diomande survived the rare, but deadly disease. He doesn’t attribute his survival to any medical cure, but to his career as a dancer. “My dancing helped me a lot, that’s why I’m living today” Diomande said.
Diomande turned his near death experience into a source of motivation for his dancing. “I was strong before,” Diomande said “This is what happens in life. I will keep going.”
by Oulimata Ba