Photos By: Jen Rickard
Scoliosis and heart condition. Tell us more about this and how you have learned to push through to achieve your goals.
|I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was in fifth grade with an S- curve, or double curve. Because my spine is curved, it puts a lot of pressure on my lower back whenever I dance and prevents me from lifting anything heavy above my head. In second grade, I found out that I have extra heartbeats, an irregular heartbeat, and premature atrial and ventricular contractions. I have heart “episodes” every once in a while, where my heart starts beating very fast and hard, my blood pressure drops, and I get dizzy. My doctors told me I had to cut back on dancing in order to prevent my heart condition and scoliosis from worsening. However, quitting wasn’t an option for me, so I learned how to compensate and train my body to protect my back and heart. I had to go through physical therapy in order to strengthen my back muscles and other parts of my body to support my spine and prevent as much pain as possible when I dance. I had to learn how to detect triggers for my heart episodes so that I can prevent them as much as possible. I still have occasional episodes and back pain, so I have to rest during some practices in order to be able to compete and perform to the best of my ability. These hardships have taught me a lot about my physical and mental strength and have shown me that by learning how to take control of my body, I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.
Tell us more about yourself.
A couple of my passions are dancing, travelling, helping others in need and volunteering, and spending time with friends and family. Dancing allows me to express myself and my feelings in a unique way and it’s a means of escape from the stresses I encounter every day. I love to travel because I love experiencing and interacting with different people and cultures. I’m a very social and fun person and I love doing adventurous things with my friends on the weekends. I’ve always had a calling to helping others and volunteer. I’m a teacher’s assistant at my dance studio and I absolutely love sharing my passion for dance with the younger kids and helping them achieve their goals. I volunteer at Cornerstone nursing home once a month and tutor underclassmen at my school for National Honor Society. I’m also going on a mission trip in Puerto Rico over spring break, which I’m extremely excited about since it combines my love for travelling and volunteering!
I see myself as a dedicated, hardworking, and loyal person in this world. I constantly push myself past my boundaries and I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I always stay true to who I am and what I believe in and I never give up on anything I set my mind to. In the future, my dream is to become a surgeon, preferably a cardiothoracic surgeon. My ultimate dream is to travel around the world performing surgeries to those who cannot afford them. I want to be able to help others overcome their adversities and misfortunes when they are unable to do so by themselves.