MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Life can throw a lot of adversity your way at times, but one local dance coach Lenora Boyd strives everyday to help young women through their life struggles after surviving through her own.
Boyd is the wife of Memphis basketball’s Chief of Staff Dwight Boyd.
“It’s so important to me because everyday I wake up and thank God for being here. I don’t want to get emotional because I know that’s why he saved my life,” said Boyd.
While working as a dance coach for Cromwell Elementary, Boyd was diagnosed with breast cancer twice.
However, despite fighting for her life, it was the need of her dancers that mattered most.
“These kids still need me, so I worked my schedule around them. If I had to go get an IV in my arm and sit there for five hours, I did it on the days that we didn’t practice. The next day we practiced no one knew,” said Boyd.
Boyd added she did this because she knew at home, her young dancers had struggles of their own.
“People see my girls win, but they don’t see what they go through. Parents who are on drugs, children call me because their parent might be abusing them, and then I have to get up and go and go over there, the homeless thing, I had several of those,” said Boyd.
One of them being one of Boyd’s first dancers Tempest Wilborn, who’s family struggled financially after her parents divorced.
“We lived with (my mom's) sister, but that didn’t last too long, we ended up having to go to a shelter. Sometimes I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, I didn’t know where I was going to wear to school,” said Wilborn.
Around that time is when Boyd stepped in, helping tempest and her mom in any way she could, including giving Tempest a spot her dance team. From then Boyd functioned as both a coach and I lifelong mentor.
“Things that my mom really didn’t have time to teach me because she was so focused making sure the bills were paid, and making sure we had food on the table. That’s when Mrs. Boyd came into place, and she taught me how to save. I bought my own car at 16,” said Tempest.
In addition to Tempest, Lenora has played that role in the lives of countless women throughout her 23 years of coaching, winning at least 23 national championships while also teaching young girls to be successful women.
“They work hard, and they have a work ethic that I cant even explain. But I’m going to give them the tough love and also love them the way they need to be loved so they’ll know that,” said Boyd.