Dancer has dynamic lease on life

Shaanaaz de Jager

HE may be small but Oscar von Memerty has worked his way into the hearts of many by sharing his life story.

Oscar, 17, the son of renowned entertainer Ian von Memerty and his wife, Vivienne, is taking the entertainment world by storm.

He holds talks about his condition Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome or MPS6, a rare genetic metabolic illness, which causes all the soft tissues to swell resulting in massive deformity, dwarfism, loss of motor functions, increasing paralysis, gradual blindness and deafness.

“My shoulders lock and my left leg is shorter than my right one,” Oscar said.

He likes to end off his talks with hip-hop dancing.

The Grade 11 home-schooled pupil is not the first member of the family born with MPS6 – big sister Valeska died in August 1998 when she was five.

Both had bone-marrow transplants before Oscar was three. Valeska’s body accepted her transplant but she later developed a lung infection and died.

Oscar had to have another bone-marrow transplant in London when he was six which his body accepted. His family believes his life has been prolonged because of this successful medical procedure.

“I want to inspire teenagers and young adults. I want them to know that even though you are born different or with a condition it doesn’t mean you must stop achieving your dreams,” Oscar said yesterday.

“I put my heart and soul into my talks and dancing.”

The performing bug first bit when Oscar participated in a talent show at his old school because he wanted to see what an audience would say about his dancing.

“They loved it. My parents always say no matter what the number of the audience, always do your best,” he said.

While Oscar’s parents and sister Kasvia, 13, live in Port Elizabeth, he moved to Johannesburg at the beginning of the year to pursue his career and further his schooling.

He lives with Michelle Combrink, his boss at brand activation company, Zinto.

Oscar is also part of a three-man crew, SML (Small, Medium and Large). “I’m the small one, Phantom is the medium and Pacou, who is Congolese, is large,” he said.

When he is not on stage or studying he enjoys spending time cooking, reading, art classes and playing Xbox.

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