Beyond Adversity

Enjoying Life After Adversity

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Girls with Friedreich’s Ataxia

2015-1212 kadence-addison-and-mom-shanna-leavitt

Mom Shanna Leavitt says Addison, left, will soon need a walker to get around. (

In an article by published by CBC News in Calgary, we learn that Kadence Leavitt, 11, and her younger sister, Addison, 9, have rare disease which will leave both in wheelchairs.

Earlier this year, Shanna Leavitt learned both her daughters have Friedreich’s ataxia — a rare genetic neurological disease that leads to slow deterioration of the muscles and can affect the eyes and heart. The illness has no cure.

An anonymous donor gave a house to the two girls and their mother.

“It’s amazing how generous and how big people’s hearts are,” Shanna Leavitt said as tears rolled down her cheeks.

The Leavitts take possession of their bungalow in April, but still need to raise money to make the home wheelchair accessible.

The “incredibly generous” angel investor purchased the home, and will pay the mortgage until such time as Leavitt can afford to take on the payments herself, said volunteer organizer Bridget Brown.

The family is applying for grants and looking for tradespeople to donate their services.


Thanks to CBC News for sharing the story; for sharing the picture; the anonymous donor for simplifying the lives of Shanna Leavitt and her two daughters; Bridget Brown for her part in coordinating the donation; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text in this post.

Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.

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**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.