A MOTHER is channelling her grief into helping other families who have faced the same heartache, as she fulfils a career dream.
Shannon Wright, 24, from Peterlee, lost her eight-month-old son Jaiden just a short time after he was diagnosed with an incurable genetic condition.
Now she has set up a dance company in memory of her son and has paid tribute to him by calling it Jaiden’s Dancing Stars, or JD*S for short.
The youngster was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 1, the most severe form of the disease where sufferers never develop the ability to sit independently, crawl or walk, and have breathing problems.
Shannon will teach people of all ages how to dance as she fund-raises for the SMA Trust.
She said: “I started dancing when I was three years old and I had the opportunity to perform in some wonderful places, including London, Scotland, Australia and a little closer to home in Newcastle.
“When I had Jaiden last year, my plan was to give it up until he was maybe three or four and, in preparation, while caring for Jaiden, I would jot down ideas that sprung to mind.” She brought forward her plans when Jaiden died in September.
Shannon, who was trained professionally through a scholarship at London’s prestigious Laine Theatre Arts, added: “At first I didn’t know what to do with myself.
“It was such a hard time for us all and I felt numb. But then I thought, what better way to keep Jaiden’s memory alive than to pursue my dream of starting the dance school. “And I just knew I had to do it when I found my doodle pad containing all my ideas – it was like a sign from Jaiden to go for it.
“Jaiden’s Dancing Stars is for everyone and for me it is the perfect way of making a lasting tribute to my son and continue fund-raising for the SMA Trust to help them find a cure.
“This is for my baby boy and my ultimate goal is to make him proud.”
Shannon has set up a studio on the North West Industrial Estate in Peterlee. She offers dance and fitness classes in ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary to street dancing, BOKWA and toning.
Boot camp sessions and general fitness classes will also be hosted at the studio, which can be hired out, and she plans to bring in a beautician and nail technician to provide treatments.
Shannon’s mum, Pauline, said: “My daughter and grandson are so precious to me, and what Shannon has been through is heart-rending, but through her dance and fitness school, she is determined that some good will come from it in honour of Jaiden. I am so proud of her.”