Helping Matty: Seabrook second-grader battles two diseases

April 15, 2012

Helping Matty: Seabrook second-grader battles two diseases

Seacoastonline.com | April 13, 2012 | By Nancy Rineman

SEABROOK — Seven-and-a-half-year-old Matty Garrett is a master of animal facts.

The Seabrook Elementary School second-grader can tell you all about natural habitats and what animals eat, and his spelling is impeccable, thanks to the volumes of books he reads. He also is a fan of National Geographic’s “America the Wild” and Animal Planet.

Bright and beaming with enthusiasm, Matty shares stories and banter with classmates in teacher Cathy MacDonald’s classroom, working through each school day as a child with cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy Type 2.

Matty was diagnosed with both diseases at six months old. The chances of one person being diagnosed with both diseases are one in three million, according to Matty’s family.

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

April 29, 2011

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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