Oklahoma Teen Refuses To Be Defined As 'Disabled'

Tuesday, April 8th 2014, 6:29 pm
By: News On 6

Some people refuse to be defined by what others think. A Green Country girl is one of those people, and she's overcome great odds in the process.

The dictionary defines disabled as somehow handicapped or incapacitated. When Kaylee Switzer was 2, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors told her family she'd be in a wheel chair, unable to walk.

They found new doctors.

"They told us the younger you are when you get it, the better chance you have of out growing it," said Scott Switzer, Kaylee's dad.

But when you have rheumatoid arthritis, everything is painful.

"It was really bad when I was little," Kaylee said. "I couldn't play tag on the playground with my friends, I had to sit."

Despite the pain, Kaylee's dad says she had an independent spirit.

"She didn't want people to feel sorry for her. She wanted to do things herself that everybody else did," Scott said.

She was a cheerleader - she couldn't do all the cheers, but most. She helped with camps; she works at the Boys and Girls Club, and competes in speech and debate.

"I just tried to succeed in everything I put my mind to," Kaylee said.

Then imagine this: she says it was August of 2005.

"I put my right foot forward, then I remember seeing the world go upside down and right side up again," she said.

She had turned a cartwheel for the first time and it didn't hurt, much. She turned that event she calls the defining moment of her life into a speech, with which she placed second in the state.

Those doctors years ago were correct. She's apparently grown out of her arthritis. She is symptom free, and for her, disabled is just another word in the dictionary.