26-year-old professional dancer, Antonio Morillo severely injured his foot doing the very thing he loves.
It was an injury that could have easily ended his dancing career.
But Morillo turned it all around with tenacity -- and what his peers call unbelievable "mental fortitude."
It was a year ago, almost to the day, that Morillo was performing in Tremont, when he went into a leap and slipped.
"My back leg is turned out, so I sat on my ankle and broke my ankle and leg in three places," says Morillo.
It was serious muscle, bone and ligament damage that happened in the blink of an eye.
It happened to a healthy, promising 26-year-old dancer.
“It can turn drastically in an instant. It is such a freak accident," says Morillo.
Now 3 surgeries later, Morillo is back.
He’s patched back together by modern medicine, with pins and plates in his leg, in time for a free outdoor performance this weekend.
Morillo will be dancing with the Shaker Heights based Verb Ballets @verbballets this Saturday and Sunday July 29-30 at Firestone Park in Akron. It's part of the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival.
"Everything is about your outlook. Since my injury, I've had this serenity fall over my whole outlook," says Morillo.
“Patience. You have to let your body heal. I really embraced the time to relax and slow down. I feel like kind thoughts and prayers have helped me in the healing process and kept my head on straight," says Morillo.
That's why he wakes up grateful every day for the opportunity the day holds, to heal.
"I really embrace the opportunity to grow and learn from any situation that you're in. But really, patience and gratitude is important,” says Morillo.
It was a little bit of a leap of faith and a lot of staying positive that paid off for Antonio Morillo.
"Absolutely it did. When you have such a deep passion so deep down rooted in your body and soul for something then nothing is going to stop you. Nothing is going to keep you from getting that,” says Morillo.
When patience and gratitude pay off...
It's the hard fought for good stuff #TheGoodStuff