Sunday 10 January 2016


Reader Daisy shares her story of dancing dreams cut short… and tells how, like Summer Tanberry, letting go of those dreams opened up new doors for her.

Daisy says:
At the age of eleven I auditioned for a place at a residential ballet school and won that place; I studied there for two years, but struggled with the boarding element of it the whole time. My family moved close to another full-time ballet school, so I transferred there, but sadly I was emotionally abused by one of the teachers there and have only just recovered from that. After a year at another ballet school I had more auditions, this time for the equivalent of ballet sixth form; the auditions were often up to six in a week and took place in the middle of GCSEs which was very stressful. I was fortunate enough to get a place at a well known London dance school.

Everything was going wonderfully until I was told I needed surgery on my foot to correct some issues with my bones, and then another one, and another one. Eventually I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome which is basically a kind of nerve damage which causes extreme pain that shouldn't be there. I struggled to continue the heavy dance workload I was used to, and this caused me to break down. My health suffered. I was diagnosed with Anorexia two years ago and given treatment. Finally, thankfully, I am weight restored and discharged. I was told that I would not be able to dance again at the level I previously had, so I had to let go of my dreams and start afresh. This was so hard, but it made me realise that I COULD love other things as much as I had ballet - for me, it was English Literature.

I have been reading Cathy Cassidy's books for a long time, but Summer's story really resonated with me. The way Cathy describes the voice in Summer's head and the passion bordering on obsession, the fear of sabotage from everyone you love and the constant need for perfection are exactly the way it felt for me too. SUMMER'S DREAM made me realise that what I was experiencing wasn't normal; the book encouraged me to get the help I needed. I like to think that Summer, once her treatment is finished, will go on to find other passions and a happy life, just as I have. I am expressing my not so nice past through short stories and poetry as well as sticking my nose in as many books as I can! Knowing how close I came to death makes me enjoy every second of my new life. I laugh, I love, I live.

Cathy says:
Daisy's story is terrifying and inspiring in turn… and it's so, so amazing to know that my book SUMMER'S DREAM enabled her to reach out and get the help she needed. Have YOU ever felt so pressured you just couldn't cope? COMMENT BELOW to have your say...


  1. I can relate to that. Not the dancing part, but everything else. It touches my heart, it makes me remember to love your life when you can, to embrace the suns beams, the smiles, to never stop dreaming. To always be who you are.

  2. I do relate as the dancing part, but not the foot illness. I have ankle problems and I was forced to quit in my last year of junior dancing! I was upset but soon found myself obsessed with roller skating and writing! Its easy to get obsessed with something you've never tried before - even though you may never be over dancing as you feel it was your life. But its good to embrace things and live life! No matter what problems stand in the way !



Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...