Inspiring Stories

Willie BursonTwelve-year-old Willie Burson loves reading, drawing, and playing golf. He’s bright, too, having recently been accepted to a talented youth program. Seeing him today, you’d never guess this was the same boy whom doctors once said might never walk or talk.

Willie’s medical conditions are complex. He was born...

Penelope MillerAbout a week after Penelope Miller was born, in July 2012, her parents noticed her leg movement was more frog-like than her older brother’s was when he was a baby, and she didn’t have a strong kick. A visit to the doctor determined that everything was fine. Yet her parents, Tim and Heather, remained concerned....

Charnira BerryNo one could have known that day how 10-year-old Charnira Berry’s life would be dramatically altered—or just how close she would come to struggling for survival. Her family was getting ready to go out, and while her father and siblings bustled around her, Charnira remained on the couch, sleeping. When her family...

Christian Thomas

Where Are They Now?

Christian Thomas, 13, who last appeared in Potential when he was four, is now a black belt in karate. It’s a rigorous accomplishment that requires multiple mile runs, sparring matches, and memorization of martial arts moves. His achievement is all the more remarkable when one considers...

JacobThe year my son was in the third grade, I didn’t eat. I never left my phone, even to take a shower. Jake, who has autism, was scared to go to school and totally unhinged once he got there—running in circles, biting...

Kokayi Thomas with his motherFifteen-year-old Kokayi Thomas had always been healthy and athletic, until last November when he started complaining of weakness in his right arm and leg. After a visit to the pediatrician, a battery of tests, and an MRI, Kokayi and his parents were shocked to hear the diagnosis:...

Marshall Garber

Marshall Garber is a patient at Kennedy Krieger’s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury.

A few years ago, I developed a mass on my spinal cord that left me paralyzed. My family sought out the best place to help...

Luke McNair happyChrissy McNair describes her son Luke, 13, as “one of the happiest kids I’ve ever met.” He usually wakes up in a good mood and likes cracking jokes with his two brothers. He loves Top-40 music and animals, and has been riding horses since he was 3 years old. “The best word for him is...

Katie Bickford truckKatie Bickford remembers the pain starting in the 7th grade—it began in her spine and radiated out all over her body. The pain got so bad she couldn’t walk. To make matters worse, she fractured her heel, and then her arm, so it hurt to use crutches. She used a...

Perry ZimmermanAt the tender age of 13, Perry Zimmerman has already battled a lifetime’s worth of illnesses. Born with retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer, Perry developed a related brain tumor at age two that doctors did not expect her to...