For almost as long as he can remember young Haiden Corcoran has lived for dance.
The nine-year-old has practised, honed and improved his skills relentlessly for the past five years.
And he was delighted when the dance group he is part of qualified for a top championships in Scotland.
But as he prepares for FY Wingz’ appearance at the UDO World Street Dance Championships in Glasgow, after qualifying in the regional heats at the Winter Gardens, the brave youngster’s pride is tinged with an incredible sadness.
For Haiden, of Palatine Road, Cleveleys, suffers from the rare genetic condition Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
The condition means Haiden’s joints are becoming progressively weaker, making each dance session an agonising experience.
At the end of every dance session he is in pain, but he doesn’t let it prevent him doing what he loves
But Haiden is determined to fight through the pain barrier to achieve his dream of performing at the world championships at Glasgow’s giant SECC venue. The event will be held between August 28 and 30.
Haiden’s mother Julie, 32, who is studying to be a social worker, said: “Haiden loves dancing. It has been his life for the last five years and we are all very proud of him.
“At the end of every dance session he is in pain, but he doesn’t let it prevent him doing what he loves.
“His condition is getting worse and the doctors have said that this will probably be his last chance to dance at this level.
“I was diagnosed with the condition late and already use a wheelchair.
“Haiden’s problems mean that he often dislocates his joints while dancing and his dad, Philip, has to pop his joints back into place.
“Sometimes it is so bad, his knee cap can become twisted around to the side and has to be pushed back into place. But despite everything, he keeps smiling and keeps dancing.
“He knows his condition is getting worse and is determined to keep practising so that he can put on his best possible performance.
“We are all very proud of him. He is an inspiration.”
Ehlers-Danlos is a disorder of connective tissues in skin, ligaments, bones and internal organs.
Symptoms include increased movement of loose joints, stretchy skin and fragile skin tissue.
It is caused by alterations in certain genes which make connective tissue weaker and can be passed from either parent. People with EDS have loose joints, meaning limbs bend more than usual.
Because Glasgow will probably be Haiden’s last performance, the whole family are taking the trip to Scotland in August.
As well as mum and dad, Haiden will have brothers Joel, 13, Dominic, 11, Reece, 14, Brandon, eight, and sisters Honey, six, and Minnie, three, cheering him on. Haiden trains with FY Wingz at The Oracle in Blackpool. The group was formed in 2006 and the Glasgow trip is their greatest triumph.
Haiden is dancing in both the social and group categories and as a duo with dance partner eight-year-old Casey Foster.
But win, or lose, there will be no one prouder in the audience than his mum.
Mrs Corcoran added: “Haiden’s doctor has said that his condition is one of the worst he has seen.
“The condition is hard to diagnose because it is so rare and it is heart-breaking to see him in pain.
“Because I suffer from Ehlers-Danlos myself, I know how painful it can be.
“He will try anything and keeps up with the class despite the pain he is in.
“We will all be in Glasgow to cheer him on and there won’t be a prouder family there.”