Meet Darla Davies
Darla’s story will show you that sometimes you have to say No to the limited expectations of others in order to succeed beyond measure. Darla’s quest for athletic victory inspires you to push through challenges and shows you that it is never too late and you are never too old to pursue your dream.
At age forty, Darla felt burned out on the equestrian scene she had been a part of for twenty-five years. After watching a ballroom dancing competition on television, Darla became enamored with the sport. Swing dance lessons at a community center led Darla to small local ballroom studios and a dance camp, where she met her then future husband, Jim Maranto; a two-time professional American Smooth Ballroom Dance Champion.
Over the next several years, Darla won many awards as she progressed from beginner through intermediate and to the advanced level of ballroom dance competitions. In 2006, Darla and Jim were invited to perform an exhibition dance on America’s Ballroom Challenge, which was co-hosted by Marilu Henner and televised on PBS.
Years of sporting activities had robbed Darla of the cartilage in her left hip. In 2008, Darla and Jim felt lucky to win the coveted United States Pro-Am American Smooth Championship, in spite of Darla’s very weak left leg. No longer able to endure the joint pain that continued after numerous failed therapies and treatments, Darla, at age fifty-one, succumbed to hip replacement surgery in the fall of 2009.
After being told by one surgeon that she would not be able to dance after hip surgery, Darla kept searching until she found Dr. Anthony Hedley, at the Arizona Institute for Bone & Joint Disorders. Dr. Hedley gave Darla a new titanium hip, along with the confidence and courage to follow her dream of winning another national ballroom dance championship.