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Angela and I were in Jr. and High school together, though we were not friends back then.  I don’t think we even knew each other. But at our high school reunion, we were both without partners and the music started up (great songs from the ‘60’s), she grabbed my arm and we started dancing the lindy, and that was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Her life story is compelling and would take a book to tell it to you, so I asked her to share one of her special accomplishments.

I am so proud to introduce my friend Dr. Angela Baumann….

I have loved to dance since I was a child. As an adolescent, I danced alone, at home in my room with my door closed, but always in front of a mirror. The sight of my body in motion held a fascination for me. Before last January, it had been many decades since I danced, but 10 months ago, I signed up for ballroom dancing lessons, a life changing moment for me.

I am a patient with Multiple Sclerosis. My condition is marked by severe balance problems and profound fatigue and memory loss. Until recently, I was falling on an average of three times a week, often in the street and with a considerable toll on my body, broken bones and all. Thankfully, I have not broken my hip, which is a problem for women in my age category. Since I started dancing, I have fallen twice in 8 months.

Initially, when I started taking lessons, I was falling two or three times a night on the dance floor. The owner of the studio was overtly concerned when I decided to renew my contract. Dancing, it would appear, would be a difficult road for me to hoe. But, now in less than one year, there has been a noticeable change in my balance. I feel confident about crossing the street alone and without a cane. And I was enrolled in a dance competition and not only had the courage to show up for event and stay on my feet, but actually scored in the 90’s in five of the dances I performed, from the Argentine Tango to the Swing. Last night, I saw a video of my dances and was most proud of my posture and fluidity of motion.

I am not only an MS patient, but I am a widow of 16 years. I never would have envisioned the benefits I have experienced, ranging from the challenge of remembering dance steps and sequences, to the importance of socialization (I am a very solitary person), to the sheer enjoyment of listening and moving to music. I thought I would be the oldest person in the room, but to my surprise, I met amazing beautiful accomplished dancers, who are decades older than my 69 years. Anyone, who has ever told you it is never to late to start, was so right!

I am a retired Board Certified Anesthesiologist. I teach Medicine in Contemporary Society to medical students at SUNY Stony Brook and I am a Voluntary Faculty member of the Department of Anesthesiology at SUNY Stony Brook.

My little secret: There is nothing that one cannot accomplish if you put your mind to it and work hard to be whatever you wish to be. Angela is that person and an inspiration.


Author: Olga Cohen

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