A teenage girl from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is proving that you can do anything you set your mind to, no matter what your circumstances may be.
Kennedy Garcia has faced a handful of challenges over the course of her life and has been met with doubt and disbelief from others who were not always sure she would be able to beat the odds. However, Kennedy has continued to persevere through anything thrown her way and is doing everything she can to make all of her dreams come true – and is becoming an incredibly beautiful role model along the way.
Kennedy was born with Down syndrome, a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. According to the CDC, Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States, and it occurs in about one in every 700 babies. This can cause complications in the development of the babies’ bodies and brains during pregnancy. On top of that, Kennedy was later diagnosed with cancer. It was clear that she would not always have an easy road ahead.
Renee, Kennedy’s mother, always believed in her daughter, though, and encouraged her to pursue all of her passions. There have been plenty of highs and lows along the way, but Kennedy is now doing what she loves and is encouraging others to follow suit. Nowadays, Kennedy is inspiring people from all over the world working as a model, actress, and a professional speaker. Through it all, Kennedy also makes sure to spend time with the people who mean the most to her – her boyfriend, her friends and her family.
Overcoming The Odds
While Kennedy is the true epitome of a role model now, her life was not always so glamorous. According to Metro, Renee was actually told by doctors that her daughter wouldn’t have a great quality of life because she has Down syndrome, and that it would be a challenge raising her all the way into adulthood. However, Renee refused to give up on her baby girl, and has continued to encourage her to reach for the stars.
According to Bright Side, Kennedy spent a lot of time in the hospital during her younger years, but kept a positive attitude through it all. Her mother has continued to speak very highly of Kennedy and all of the ups and downs she’s faced throughout her journey to becoming the successful 16-year-old she is today.
“She has definitely overcome a lot,” Renee said. “She’s had over 30 surgeries and she had leukemia and then spine fusion surgery as a toddler. She’s had a hard road. She’s always kept a positive attitude and a smile through everything, even when she was super sick or in pain.”
On Feb. 4, 2020, Kennedy posted a beautiful black and white photograph of herself to Instagram to talk about being a cancer survivor. She said:
“Today is World Cancer Day! I am a survivor! And once you’ve stood up to cancer, everything else feels like a pretty easy fight. In memory of those who have lost their battle, in support of those who continue to fight, and to those who have survived… raise awareness, find a cure, carry on the fight!”
Becoming A Role Model
Kennedy has continued to beat the odds as she is now a model, actress and a professional speaker. According to Bright Side, she started modeling when she was 6 years old and was discovered by American Girl when she was 10. The teenager has continued to model ever since.
Kennedy also has a strong love for dance, something she’s been a part of since she was 5 years old. Renee explained that Kennedy is the only one with Down syndrome on her competition team, and has made great friends through dance. She also has learned how to balance her professional life with her social life, and has even found time for a relationship with her supportive boyfriend.
“There have definitely been highs and lows in our journey, but 16 years in, the good has FAR outweighed the bad. When she was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome, we were given a very bleak outlook on her future… not one that you would ever hope for, for your child, but Kennedy has continually proven those doctors wrong, as she has paved her own way and shown the world what she CAN do.”
It’s evident that Kennedy is a true inspiration to others, and talks to students about how easy it should be to make friends with people from all walks of life. Renee added, “People with Down syndrome or other disabilities are just like the rest of us. And I think that’s what Kennedy strives to show every day on her Instagram account. That she’s a pretty typical teen… and if people gave her a chance, they’d find out that she’s a pretty great friend and a lot of fun!”
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What do you think about this girl’s inspiring story? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your loved ones, too.