Emily Shaffer

Pennsylvania, USA

I was born with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which makes my bones and muscles extremely weak. It affects the joints and makes them very inflamed and swollen when overused, and it has affected my heart and brain, giving me seizures. I was put into dance at age 4 for physical therapy. Little was I aware that I would fall in love and it would be my whole life. Not only did it drastically improve my health, but it also gave me a reason to feel. It gives me a feeling like no other and it's not just a passion and a sport: it is my everything. I hope to go to college and continue dancing and I work everyday to advance my skill. I still live with EDS, however it will never stop me from continuing to do what I love.

NEVER be afraid to be who you are and to find new challenges. Never be worried about how people will react and if you want something, go for it and work your hardest to get it. Always challenge yourself in the best way, and always do what makes you happy. There will be obstacles in this, but you can overcome them in so many ways. You must always believe in others, because that will rub off on you. You must always believe in yourself. Don't let your own body and self limit your mind and your future to what you think you can do.