After her diagnosis three years ago, Alexis began to focus on what seemed to her the perfect way to defy her disease: travel. Visit the world while she still has eyesight. So her family set up a traveling fund and intends to help her see as much of the ...and more »
Kyle Munson, The Des Moines Register
4 a.m. EDT July 15, 2016MANSON, Ia. â€”Â It wasnâ€™t until last yearÂ that Alexis Myers, then a seventh-grader, was so bold as to standÂ up in front of her classmates and describeÂ in detail whatÂ isÂ wrong with her.Science teacherÂ Jessica Waller had assigned her students to study a genetic disorder and deliver a report. Alexis was the only one who chose herself as a subject:Â her OPA-1 genetic mutation.Alexis calmly pagedÂ through her PowerPoint presentation,Â projected on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. She didnâ€™t waver or shed tears.â€œThis is something she has lived with all her life,â€ Waller said. â€œShe knew about it, and she wanted other people to know about itÂ too.â€Alexis patientlyÂ explained how she had begun to lose her hearing before kindergarten. How then her eyesight weakened. How she also lost some of her balance. How this disease had lingered unrecognized in her father's family for generations. HowÂ her grandmother has facedÂ many of the same symptoms.After her diagnosis three years ago, Alexis began to focus on what seemed to her the perfect way to defy her disease:Â travel. Visit the world while she still has eyesight.So her family set up aÂ traveling fundÂ andÂ intends to help her see as much of the world as soon as possible.This plan for Alexis to seizeÂ her remaining years of sight has inspiredÂ her school and community. People have reached out to help.Alexis also raised about $4,000 onÂ her ownÂ by selling handcrafted jewelry, homemade dog treats and other items.Â The money will help pay for a trip to Germany in August as part of a foreign exchange and camp organized by the Lions Club.But first, money from the spaghetti supper will enableÂ Alexis and her family to fly to France and Great Britain at the end of July. That trip will allow her toÂ realize her dream of visiting Paris.Alexis also wants to trek to Finland to see the northern lights, renowned as one ofÂ the most beautiful, shimmering scenes forÂ any pair of eyes.For more on this story, click here.For more inspiring stories, LIKE the Humankind Facebook page.HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHS54-year-old custodian graduates with engineering degree | 0:44Father of three, Michael Vaudreuil, lost his business in the 2008 recession. So he took on a part-time custodian job at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which also offered free tuition for its employees. Eight years later, he's graduating!
USA TODAY1 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHS92-year-old veteran throws out killer first pitch | 1:29World War II Veteran Burke Waldron picks up a baseball for the first time in half a century.
VPC2 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSTeen overcomes depression with help of horses | 1:36Morgan survived three suicide attempts before she entered a program that helps her battle her depression and anxiety.
VPC3 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHS7-year-old without hands wins handwriting prize | 1:44Anaya Ellick's perfect penmanship would make any parent or teacher proud, but what's extraordinary is the way the 7-year-old writes without hands at all.
VPC4 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSKitty's abnormal legs don't hold him back | 1:04Mouse the kitten was born with a congenital deformity: his front legs were not developing normally. Mouse was eventually adopted into a loving home where he is living a happy life. Video provided by Best Friends Animal Society.
USA TODAY5 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSSpecial needs teen sinks game ending 3-pointer | 1:21Robert Lewis has been his high school basketball team's manager for the past three years. On senior night, he was put in the game and hit a game ending 3-pointer that had the crowd going wild.
VPC6 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSMom with ALS turns 40; but she wasn't supposed to | 2:17Jenni was diagnosed with ALS seven years ago and wasn't supposed to live more than two years. Watch as she prepares for her 40th birthday party with 170 of her closest friends and family. Video shot by Mykal McEldowney with IndyStar.com.
VPC7 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSChild prodigy proves autism isn't a roadblock | 0:59Jacob is a child prodigy. At age 8, he already has an album out, and is doing concerts. He's proving to everyone an autism diagnosis doesn't mean you can't achieve great things.
VPC8 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHS4-year-old saves mom's life with quick call | 1:53When Camden Vaughan's mom passed out, the 4-year-old not only knew who to call, but how to do it on her smartphone.
VPC9 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSGroom-to-be with cancer wins $100,000 dream wedding | 2:14Justin Perry's stage four lung cancer isn't stopping him from marrying the woman he loves. He proposed at Fenway Park and Michelle White said yes. But mounting medical bills were getting in the way of a wedding. That is, until now.
WCSH10 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSAmputee not letting accident stop her from her dreams | 1:03Christy Wise had accomplished a lot by the age of 28. She was an Air Force Academy graduate, a rescue pilot, and a ski champion. A boating accident changed her life in April of 2015, but her list of achievements has only grown since.
VPC11 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSTeen with Down syndrome competes for pageant crown | 1:25Mickey Deputy has been a fighter since the day she was born with three holes in her heart. At age 7, she fought and eventually beat leukemia. Now, this teen with Down syndrome is competing in a pageant and running on the platform of inclusion.
VPC12 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSIdentical twins are very different, but fiercely loyal | 1:32Olivia and Adrianna DeBoer are identical twins, both enjoying high school like typical teens. Adrianna is fiercely loyal of Olivia who has cerebral palsy, and this loyalty has made them immensely close.
13 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSThis mom is changing fashion for the differently-abled | 1:29Eight-year-old Oliver Scheier has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. His mother, Mindy Scheier, launched Runway of Dreams to create adaptive clothing for the differently-abled community. Video provided by Helen Polise/Muthership Productions.
VPC14 of 15HUMANKIND: TRIUMPHSTeen girl uses 'crazy strength' to lift burning car off dad | 1:02Charlotte Heffelmire's father can't believe what his 19-year-old daughter was able to do to save his life. Trapped under a burning car, she was able to lift it enough for him to escape. But that isn't all she accomplished that day.
USA TODAY15 of 15
54-year-old custodian graduates with engineering degree
92-year-old veteran throws out killer first pitch
Teen overcomes depression with help of horses
7-year-old without hands wins handwriting prize
Kitty's abnormal legs don't hold him back
Special needs teen sinks game ending 3-pointer
Mom with ALS turns 40; but she wasn't supposed to
Child prodigy proves autism isn't a roadblock
4-year-old saves mom's life with quick call
Groom-to-be with cancer wins $100,000 dream wedding
Amputee not letting accident stop her from her dreams
Teen with Down syndrome competes for pageant crown
Identical twins are very different, but fiercely loyal
This mom is changing fashion for the differently-abled
Teen girl uses 'crazy strength' to lift burning car off dad
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