NC toddler fighting rare disease enjoys night at theater, meets cast

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A 2-year-old boy who is fighting his way through surgeries and travel for treatment enjoyed a night at the theater.

The cast of “Beauty and the Beast” welcomed him as their guest at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.

CBS North Carolina talked with the boy’s mother and the cast about the boy’s visit to see the show and what it means to everyone.

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The applause after “Beauty and the Beast”  was not for the cast, but for a member of the audience named Chance.

“I named him Chance because I was the only one who gave him a chance at life and I feel like through that God gave me a second chance and I see everything through a different set of eyes now,” said mom Angela Blanton.

Chance Blanton lives near the coast in Hubert, but he and his mother spend much of their time at Duke for treatment.

“He has a rare syndrome, so he’s had multiple brain surgeries. He has seizures, muscular dystrophy. He’s blind. He can only see out of a portion of his right eye,” Chance’s mom said.

But he can hear.

“Music is his heart and soul,” Angela Blanton said.

Earlier this week, through the Ronald McDonald House, Chance and his mom enjoyed a rare opportunity to watch a dress rehearsal of North Carolina Theatre’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

They also met a couple of cast members afterward.

“He smiled and laughed,” Chance’s mom said.

They loved it so much, they wanted to come back and get a cast photo before the show closes Sunday.

“To see him light up, you know, with many times that he’s not feeling good and he’s in pain, means more than words can even describe. I take those moments and really hold onto them,” Angela Blanton said.

So, Chance came back and met the cast and even Governor Roy Cooper.

“To see him smile. You guys did that. So, I just want to say thank you,” Blanton said.

And actors showed their wide range of real emotions.

“It’s such a gift for us. We feel transformed to be around somebody like this who is such an intrepid person and excited to absorb our art and love it. He makes us feel worthy and excited to do the work that we do,” said Elizabeth Doran, President and CEO of North Carolina Theatre.

Doctors diagnosed Chance with “Walker-Warburg” syndrome, which is a brain and eye muscle disease.

The syndrome is so rare that his mother says doctors at Duke had not seen it before.

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