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MDA: Young woman won't let MD stop her or her dreams

9:58 PM, Aug 31, 2011   |    comments
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By Mike Bush

Chesterfield, MO (KSDK) - For some people, moving day is every day.

Twenty-year-old Gabriela Garbero is on the move again. She's heading back to the University of Missouri, excited about finally getting her own apartment.

"She's very independent," said Gabby's mom, Kelley Garbero. "A lot more independent than people would give her credit for."

She's always been able to look ahead, which is even more impressive when you look back.

Gabriela was born with a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It was diagnosed when she was a baby after dozens of tests.

"It was two weeks of absolute torture," said Kelley.

SMA affects the motor neurons of the spinal cord and brain stem, causing muscle weakness. The family says, the Muscular Dystrophy Association was their shoulder to lean on.

"From the very beginning, they were a source of great support," explained Kelley.

MDA's message was the only difference between Gabriela and someone else, is that she would need a wheelchair to get around. And the Garbero's weren't ones for pity parties. They passed that message on to their daughter.

"There's relatively few things that get in her way, except maybe a curb," laughed Matthew Garbero, Gabby's father.

Still, when you face the challenges of SMA, you are anything but typical. Gabriela may be a college junior, but life has been her college.

"When I was little," she said, "I couldn't do everything that other people could do so I had to watch how they did it."

In other words, if I can't do it, I can imagine it. Which may be why when she graduates from Mizzou she hopes to move to California to study film.

"I think my point of view is kind of unique," she said. "And so I want to express that to other people."

She's already made a couple of student films and this summer she worked in television. As an intern at KSDK she wrote, produced, and directed the promotional spot for the MDA telethon.

"If she's given an opportunity, she'll take advantage of the opportunity," said her dad.

Moving is not the same as going somewhere but Gabriela Garbero only heads in one direction, forward.

"I like to make the best of things, even when it's not perfect," she said.

A young lady who may one day show us all that with a dream you can fly without ever leaving your chair.

KSDK

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