Ocean View teen Emilio Ruiters is still determined to travel to Los Angeles to take part in a five-day talent convention with iPop Los Angeles in front of industry talent scouts.
His story touched many after it appeared in the Echo (“Mom and son determined to realise dream,” August 22, 2019) and a BackaBuddy campaign was launched.
But Emilio and his mother, Marilyn Ruiters, are still R30 000 short of the R100 000 fund-raising target.
The organisers of the event have granted Emilio more time to come up with the money and
Marilyn has been busy trying to raise it.
“I just felt like people had given so much, that I couldn’t possibly ask for more. I wanted to fill in the rest myself,” she said.
Marilyn made raffles and walked her suburb, selling second hand clothes.
“I managed to raised R6 600, and I just didn’t know how to ask people for more money. We don’t have that kind of money in Ocean View, and companies prefer to sponsor teams, not individuals.”
She said the community also wanted to be fair, there are cyclists going to Netherlands and other children trying to raise funds to play soccer in Spain.
“I understand that,” Marilyn said.
But Emilio’s chance to perform is coming up in July, and Marilyn is panicking because she doesn’t want to disappoint Emilio or the people who did raise funds. “We have, with the incredible blessings and generosity of everyone, raised R70 637 of the R100 000 goal. I still can’t believe it,” she said. “And I don’t want to disappoint those who donated. I believe in Emilio and they do too,” she said.
Emilio was chosen by directors of DMH Talent Agency. This July he hopes to work with industry experts, alongside entrants from 30 countries during the talent-scouting event.
It was his mom, Marilyn’s, leap of faith and tenacity to get her son to the audition in Port Elizabeth which also captured hearts. She took her daughter’s school fees, bought a bottle of Jack Daniels and raffled it. It worked. They took a bus with a meagre packed lunch and arrived in a city they had never been to before.
An Uber driver heard their story and ferried them to the audition venue, picked them up after and even gave them the shortfall to buy a bus ticket back home. They left home hopeful, and returned with a golden ticket.
For Emilio this trip is about his dreams of dancing, the one thing in this world, he says, that brings him joy, and it’s about showing the rest of the world that nothing is impossible.
“Because of the troubles we face in Ocean View all the time, everyone is despondent. I want to show them we can work towards our dreams,” he said.
If you can help, contact Ms Ruiters on 060 661 9403.