Iqaluit rallies for injured Inuk dancer in Cuba, plans benefit show
April 15 fundraiser, 7 p.m. at Cadet Hall, to help Napu Boychuk's continuing recovery
Here’s a plan for your Saturday night in Iqaluit: on April 15 you can attend a fundraiser evening for injured dancer Napu Boychuk, featuring DJ Jason DeVries—and see performances by comedians, musicians, dancers, and more.
All money raised from the $25 at-the-door admission charge will go to support Napu Boychuk. The 30-year-old Inuk dancer, who was raised in Yellowknife as a child, has been in Cuba since December 2015.
That’s when he suffered a spinal cord injury and then paralysis while on vacation in Varadero, Cuba with his sister, Tuutalik and their father Dan.
Ballet dancer Napu was only months away from earning a Bachelor of Fine arts in Dance Performance at Ryerson University in Toronto when the accident took place on the beach in large waves.
Dan and Napu have been in Cuba ever since, living in an apartment near the hospital where Napu spent five months under the care of local doctors and nurses.
Progress is slow and Napu still needs 24-hour care. It’s difficult to maintain hope and motivation, Napu’s sister Tuutalik told Nunatsiaq News earlier this year.
Even more difficult, however, is trying to pay for that recovery because the company that holds Napu’s medical insurance through Ryerson University has refused to cover all their costs.
“It’s almost as if the money and the insurance is a bigger problem than the spinal cord injury itself. And that’s the sad part about all this,” Tuutalik said, identifying the insurer as Global Excel. “The insurance company, in some ways, it’s the worst thing that’s happened to us.”
They owe the hospital in Cuba more than $57,000 USD. The hospital has agreed to let them pay that amount back in installments, but it’s still a burden with the continuing cost of nurses, physical therapists and living expenses in Cuba.
The April 15 fundraiser evening gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Cadet Hall and includes a cash bar, 50/50 draw, raffles and door prizes. The snack bar will offer a taste of “naputine”—a special take on the traditional Québec dish of poutine: fries, gravy and cheese curds.
If you can’t attend—or are outside Iqaluit—you can still donate to an online fundraising campaign here for Napu, which, since February, has raised about $9,000 of its $150,000 goal.