Heart, soul outshine Janesville Craig grad’s wheelchair

Heart, soul outshine Janesville Craig grad’s wheelchair

GazetteXtra.com | June 11, 2011 | By Frank Schultz

JANESVILLE — Talk with Kyle Knopes for a while and you soon forget the wheelchair and the condition that’s robbing him of his strength.

Knopes’ face radiates a kind smile and a mature intelligence. In the end, that’s what you remember about him.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He was supposed to live only eight to 12 years. He’s 18, now, and graduated Friday with the rest of the Craig High School Class of 2011.

Knopes suffers from spinal muscular atrophy. The condition doesn’t allow his body to produce new muscle. Over time, he loses strength.

Gazette readers might remember him as the child who went to China in 2009 with the help of local fundraisers to get injections of umbilical-cord stem cells.

After his first injection, he was able to roll from his back to his side, something he hadn’t done since he was 6, he said.

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