By: Rachel Belmont
It takes a strong, resilient, and driven person to overcome a label that has been associated with them their entire life. This is the case with 12-year-old Natalie Mohorter, an extremely intelligent, beautiful young sixth grader with Turner’s Syndrome. Natalie is similar to other children, in the sense that she enjoys science classes, graphic design, riding horses, playing basketball, and spending time with friends. However, what makes her unique is that she has a disease that affects 1 in 2000 girls, making her a true miracle baby. This was despite the fact that doctors told her mother during pregnancy that Natalie would have a 0% shot at life, which has been Natalie’s motivation ever since to live her life to the fullest, proving to herself and others that she is stronger than any label associated with her.
The dangerous thing about labels are the fears and misunderstandings that come along with them. Growing up, for example, Natalie was always teased by children who did not understand or have compassion to see past her Turner’s Syndrome, a condition that encompasses a range of health problems such as infertility, short stature, learning disabilities, and heart defects. In Natalie’s case, she was shorter than most children in her class, making her an often target for bullying. In addition, she was diagnosed with ADHD, resulting in labels that stemmed from her overly talkative-bubbly personality. In Natalie’s case, this provides an explanation for why it is easy for her to make friends, but difficult to keep them. However, there is nothing “horribly different” or “wrong” with having a condition or any other kind of disorder. Whether it is Turner Syndrome or ADHD, these conditions only make a person more unique…different, yes, but aren’t we ALL different in our own respects?
“People should aim to understand one another in the sense that nobody is born perfect, and even if you are lucky enough to be born perfectly healthy, it is unlikely that you don’t have other qualities that make you imperfect.”
This is the message Natalie tried to deliver to people while organizing her sixth grade Gateway Project, a capstone class assignment meant to spread awareness about any topic of her choice. In this project, she officially came out to her fellow classmates, teachers, and community about having Turner Syndrome. She wrote a 5-page research paper about the history of Turner Syndrome, and made a comic strip to describe dealing with her disease, while additionally organizing a poster presentation for her community in her school’s gym. As Natalie describes it, everyone was in absolute awe at how brave she was for coming out about having Turner Syndrome.
Classmates of hers who had teased her in the past were a lot nicer and showed more of an understanding towards her as well. Natalie not only successfully spread awareness about Turner Syndrome to everyone, but made it known that despite any adverse conditions against her, she would not let fear or discouragement from keeping her love and passion for life alive. Natalie is an incredibly gifted and driven young women with nothing holding her back from accomplishing anything she sets out to do.
Share your comments below. Like Natalie, you can change the stigma and lack of knowledge there is of Turner Syndrome in your community. Interested? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ASK for ways to help or call 732-847-3385