With my hair in a braid, a smile on my face, and the dance in my heart and mind, I flew across the stage, savoring the exhilarating feeling of doing what I adored most, ballet. There has always been something special to me about performing for an audience, but this time it was different. Unlike the dozens of other times I had performed, this time I had a spinal cord injury, but that was the only difference from the other times—a smile was still on my face, I performed my absolute best, and I was truly happy. All of these things were true during my ballet class on April 19, 2010, when I, very suddenly, got an excruciating headache and was forced to leave class. Before I left the studio, my arms and hands didn’t work—they became paralyzed. Within 16 hours, I was paralyzed from the neck-down—a quadriplegic.
Transverse Myelitis was no longer a mystery diagnosis I had never heard of before; Transverse Myelitis was something I was trying to overcome. Being only eight years old, I was scared, of course, but didn’t realize the severity of the situation. I knew I’d be able to walk again when I moved my big toe. My upper body, however, was a different story with my right hand working only slightly, my left hand paralyzed, and arms working only a little bit.