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Wisconsin girl, 14, dreams of dancing despite disease

The parents of a Wisconsin teenager were told that she might not make it to her second birthday because of a debilitating disease called spinal muscular atrophy. However, the young woman's mother said the now 14-year-old was far too determined to give up. Now, the teen is determined that a cure for her disease will be discovered soon, and she has her sights set on ballet dancing one day.

Until then, the teen's illness confines her to her bed most of the time, hooked up to a ventilator as her muscles are so weak that even the smallest movements take a huge amount of energy. Even though the 14-year-old can't eat and must be fed with a feeding tube, she dreams that one day she might be dancing on her own two feet.

This winter, one of the few times the teen has been able to leave her house was to attend "The Nutcracker" ballet at Central Wisconsin School of Ballet. There, the teen was able to leave a lasting impression on a well-known dancer from New York's American Ballet Theatre.

The teenager is also an inspiration to her parents and 8-year-old brother. Though the teen lacks physical power, her mom said it's her strong mind that has carried her through life thus far.

There are many inspiring young people in Wisconsin and the rest of the country who are forced to face illness and disabilities head-on. Luckily, they are often able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income to help their families afford the special care they need.

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette, "Passion for ballet inspires disabled girl, 14," Keith Uhlig, Jan. 13, 2014

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