One of the most heartbreaking stories in the history of Britain’s Got Talent was that of ballet dancer Julia Carlile. She was born with a crippling form of scoliosis, (an extreme curvature of the spine), which makes it hard for her to do ordinary things. She and her ballet troupe, the MerseyGirls, went on the show in order to pay for a surgery that would allow her to keep dancing. When they lost, all hope was lost as well. Then Simon stepped up.
The man with the scowl offered to pay for the $175,000 surgery in the U.S. the only one she qualified for in the UK would have put a stiff rod in her back, making it impossible to be a dancer. But the more modern treatment in the United States puts in a flexible cord which allows her to move freely. It wasn’t easy. They were two 6 hour surgeries this past summer. Since then it’s been intense physical therapy for Julia. This past week she returned to the ballet studio and danced again, something she thought was impossible just a few months ago.
I’ve always thought that Simon’s image is just that, an image. He knows how to get ratings and make stars, but he’s also got a heart somewhere deep under those deep v-neck t’s.