Amanda. Jacksonville, FL

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“Hi my name is Amanda. At the age of 3,  I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Ataxia Telangietasia (AT) .At an early age, my body started to deteriorate  from this genetic disease. I had trouble walking and doing everyday tasks that come easily to most people. At the age of 10, in 2nd grade, I was using a  wheelchair most of the time and needed help with tasks that used eye and hand coordination. Going through school was some scary stuff. Finally, I was in middle school where I found my 2nd mom, she was a nurse so I would fake tummyaches and go hide out in her office. It was my senior year in high school, I saw the most inspirational movie Dolphin Tale. Then one day when me and my mom were driving home I asked her where Clearwater was and she said about 3 hours away. Two days later we were on our way to meet Winter. Winter is a dolphin without a tail and she had to learn to swim all over again, like me I learned ways to adjust to my disability. We have been going to see Winter now for 4 years. Whenever i am feeling down or sad my Mom takes me to see Winter and I am reminded of how strong I am and special we all are. I’m 21 now and still when my mom and I are out in public, people always ask my mom things they should ask me. My mom will say something like, “Ask her she is right there or her brain works!” YES I AM RIGHT HERE !!  

I take it day by day. 

I like a variety of music from Rap to country. My favorite rapper is Eminem and my favorite country musician is Luke Brian. I like Backstreet Boys and One Direction, too. I really think music and the love of my family and my goofy friends Andrew and Zach help me get through the day.”