Life has a whole new meaning for April Biggs, especially after her kiss with death. At the age of 29, Biggs found herself clinging to life.
“I was literally on my death bed. It was very clear to me that something was different,” said Biggs.
She would give anything for more breathes of air, but her body was fighting against her.
“I was diagnosed when I was 14 months old,” said Biggs.
From that point on she’d struggle to have a normal childhood.
“I have cystic fibrosis,” explains Biggs.
This is a genetic disease that over produces mucus, especially in the lungs.
Upon finding out, her mother feared it would prevent her from enjoying life. Biggs’ childhood consisted of medication and trips to the doctor.
Biggs said, “I knew I was supposed to die by the time I was 14.”
Regardless of the problems she’d face doctors encouraged her mother to treat her like any other child. Doctors believed physical activity would help her condition.
“That’s when my Mom put me in dance,” says Biggs. “I had a pretty normal childhood.”
When she turned 16, her lungs began losing the capability to function.
“I was always looking for a way to conserve energy because I wanted to dance,” said Biggs.
After earning a degree from Florida State College she moved to New York City. At this point her lungs were only functioning at 60% but that wouldn’t stop her from dancing professionally.
“She’s really a mature dancer, not necessarily age wise. It’s the way that she approaches the work,” says Anne Burnidge, Artistic Director Of Anne Burnidge Dance.
Just two years after living in New York her lung function fell to 30%, then in 2004 another turn for the worst.
“I had a massive lung hemorrhage,” says Biggs.
A month in the hospital went by and her lungs were now only working 12%.
Biggs said, “I almost died.”
Her faith in God didn’t fail her and at the eleventh hour she was blessed with an organ donor. Her double lung transplant soon gave her the strength to continue nurturing her dreams.
“My next goal is to go back and get my MFA in choreography so I can teach in academia,” says Biggs.
Saying she’s grateful for her transplant is a huge understatement.
“I have energy and I have stamina. I can use that to actually choreograph,” says Biggs. “That’s my most direct route to being able to authentically express life.”