Owen Mayo and his son Nashtyn were just a few of the dancers to participate in an impromptu powwow at his grandparents’ home. (Jessica Deer, The Eastern Door)
When Owen Mayo was visiting his grandparents recently, he looked out the window and envisioned a powwow happening in their yard.
The 24-year-old turned it into a reality on Wednesday afternoon, inviting his family, friends, and over a dozen dancers to a small powwow for his grandparents Alice and Stuart Phillips.
“I can’t thank everybody enough for coming and enjoying the day with us. It’s truly awesome,” said Mayo.
“I was waiting for that big ‘oh no!’ and something horribly wrong to happen, but everything just came together. My family came together, it was really amazing to see so many people come here just for a quick and fast event.”
Mayo was diagnosed with Spina bifida, a birth defect where there is an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. Despite his health conditions, he has been dancing since he was a child.
“Like every grandparent, they’ve been with me since day one. I had four spine surgeries and they’ve always been by my side,” said Mayo.
“They’ve always supported my dancing and they’ve always traveled with us, so now that they both have Alzheimer’s and with their (lack of) strength, it’s too hard to make them travel.
“They didn’t even make it our powwow, so instead of traveling anywhere, I decided to get all my friends to come here and we’ll have one good one together for healing.”
Not only does Mayo dance, but his five-year-old son Nashtyn is stomping in his footsteps.
“I’ve always accepted that one day, I’m not going to be able to dance anymore. Everybody gets to that point in life, but I think mine will come a lot sooner than others. Today, I’m fine with that because of my son,” said Mayo.
“I can sit there and just watch him dance all day. I totally understand what my parents were talking about when they said, ‘when we watch you dance, we’re dancing with you.’
“When I see my son dancing, I’ll drive 20 hours to watch him dance five minutes.”
Check out more photos of the day from Eastern Door photographer Rosanna Tiranti.