El Paso student thrives despite her battle with muscular dystrophy


EL PASO – Life is always full of challenges and for someone with a disability it is even more difficult, but Esperanza Valdez a senior at Horizon High School has overcome the obstacles placed in her path by muscular dystrophy to pursue her dreams.

She wants to be known as someone who has accomplished her goals. She wants to take the opportunities available to her to obtain a college degree in accounting. For someone without a disability this would not seem so hard.

Someone who looks so fragile and small can surprise like Esperanza does with her courage and conviction. (Borderzine.com)

Someone who looks so fragile and small can surprise like Esperanza does with her courage and conviction. (Borderzine.com)

She was born apparently normal and started developing as a regular kid, but before long the muscular dystrophy took over her body and made her wheelchair bound. By the time she started school she was not able to walk.

When she was in third grade her body got very weak and the levels of oxygen were not sufficient. Because of these she had a tracheotomy and feeding tube procedures to help her body. All of this happened during a critical time when she was getting ready to take the state test (TAKS) for the first time. But the symptoms of the disease have not transformed her attitude. In spite of having many procedures done, her spirit still shines.

Because of her condition she had to be homebound for several years and teachers came to her house to deliver the lessons and the materials so that she could continue her education. This did not make her very happy. She missed the opportunities to learn with other kids her own age. She had to come back to regular school classes and is in the top of her class.

“I love being in school because I learn something new every day,” she says.

The return to regular schooling has not been easy for her. She feels that she lost the connections with her peers. Coming back was intimidating and she feels that she is more cautious about her environment than before. On the other hand, she also understands what she missed when she was not able to come to school.

Esperanza is the youngest child of the family. She has a brother and a sister. Her father and mother and even her brothers have been very supportive. Now she has a cousin living with them who is like a little sister and sometimes a daughter to her, even though they go to the same school. Alondra, her cousin has been a great support now that she is back in school. Her mom has been her biggest support.

Music is her therapy, when she has sad moments she listens to music and cries to feel better. When she is happy she listens to music and sings along with nobody around. Her favorite singers are Gloria Trevi and Selene. She likes Pop Rock in Spanish and she has gone to some concerts to see her favorite singers.

Her teachers have played an important role helping her to keep up with her education. She says that all of them are very supportive, but her math teacher is her favorite because this is her favorite subject. She feels that she is doing very well because she is making good grades and is keeping up with the workload. Her mom complains that she spends too much time doing homework, but she thinks that she should have that amount of work because she is a senior.

When you see a person you cannot really know what they been through until you talk with them. Someone who looks so fragile and small can surprise like Esperanza does with her courage and conviction. She dedicates her journey to her parents and to Jose Angel, an angel in her life. She is determined to fulfill her dreams and to enjoy life as much as she can. She truly is an inspiration to all who struggle to be independent despite their disabilities.

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