Seattle Times: Tango lessons at a bar help stroke survivor walk for first time in 20 years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SEATTLE -- This is a story of strength, survival and willpower.

Our news partner The Seattle Times reports Tho Nguyen suffered a stroke when he was 11-years-old. He's 31 now and hadn't walked on his own since that day 20 years ago.

Facing depression and loneliness, he started searching for meetup groups and eventually found tango lessons on Tuesday nights.

He came from Renton using King County Metro Paratransit, and rolled into the bar using his wheelchair.

Instructor Gabriela Condrea says she remembers the moment she looked at him and said, "Hold onto me. I'll be your human walker, your shopping cart."

It took some time. Just more than a year, in fact. But one day Condrea pulled away and Nguyen looked at her and said, "Watch this."

He took three steps on his own, without support, for the first time in 20 years.

Since then, he has been able to take 108 steps on his own. And as a result of his success, a new tango-inspired therapy class is being offered starting Wednesday at Valley Medical Center.

“I feel like I’ve become more interactive and more confident about myself and more connected to others,” Nguyen said. “I feel like I’m more normal.”

Read more and watch video from our news partner The Seattle Times >>