Spinal muscular atrophy doesn’t stop Harvard-bound Lakes senior

Spinal muscular atrophy doesn’t stop Harvard-bound Lakes senior

Army.mil | April 27, 2011 | By Marisa Petrich

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — Chanel Washington has a lot going on for a high school senior.

She’s on the Youth Council of Lakewood, and involved in Knowledge Bowl, French Club and student government. She was state president of DECA, an organization for students interested in business and marketing, and she loves going to rock concerts.

She’s been accepted to four Ivy League universities. She’s also been in a wheelchair since she was 5 years old.

Chanel has spinal muscular atrophy, an inherited disease that causes muscles to progressively degenerate. Most people with SMA die as children. But Chanel doesn’t let anything hold her back.

“Like I said, (my disease) makes things difficult, but I think even more it pushes me even further,” she said.

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