VANCOUVER — A promising young Argentinian ballerina is practicing dance moves in her bed just two weeks after suffering a severe head injury in British Columbia.
Lucila Munaretto, 21, stunned friends and family when she awoke from a coma last Tuesday and spoke to them for the first time since a rollerblading accident in North Vancouver.
"She opened her eyes, said hello and she just wanted to say thank you," said Pacific DanceArts rehearsal director Katie Bois.
Bois said Munaretto's mother and a close friend were in the room when she awoke. When Bois visited her that evening, the sound of her voice moved her to tears.
"It was just so happy, I couldn't do anything but cry," she said.
Munaretto, who is living and training in B.C., was rollerblading on a steep road on Aug. 13 when she missed a stop sign and struck a vehicle.
Bois said doctors have upgraded Munaretto's brain injury to moderate from severe and a surgeon has called the lack of nerve damage in her jaw a "miracle."
The dancer is still in a neurological critical care unit and won't be moved until her jaw recovers enough for her to eat on her own, said Bois.
She said Munaretto's family, who now live in Brazil, are not wealthy. She is in B.C. on a student working visa and outpatient care and rehabilitation costs will not be covered by insurance.
Pacific DanceArts and Coastal City Ballet have launched an online fundraising campaign to help cover the expenses, raising $38,000 so far.
A recorded message of Munaretto thanking her supporters can be heard on the GoFundMe campaign page
The talented young dancer came to Vancouver on a scholarship in the fall of 2012. Recently, she played a stepsister in a production of "Cinderella," where she stole the show, said Bois.
She added Munaretto constantly talks about dancing and is even practicing steps in her bed as much as she can — pointing her toes and stretching her legs above her head —despite having a broken pelvis.
It looks more and more likely every day that Munaretto will dance again, said Bois.
"She asks to do the most ridiculous ballet steps in her bed. We're like, 'No, Lucila, you can't do that yet. Just wait. I know you want to get up.'
"But also she says to the doctors she has to get strong as fast as possible, because she has to dance."
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