Inside of every person, there are microscopic enzymes helping to break down mucopolysaccharides and build bone, cartilage, tendons, corneas, skin and connective tissue. The body does this automatically, but for Allison Restemayer, a sophomore at Sheyenne, things aren't so simple.
Ally has what is known a mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), an extremely rare disease that is classified by a person's lack of the iduronidase enzyme. The disease has caused her to have trouble seeing, hearing, walking and talking. She continues to be a happy and positive teen, however, and new treatments are helping to ensure her wellbeing.
"MPS may be a big part of Ally's life, but it does not define who she is," Jennifer Restemayer, Ally's mom, said. "It has it's challenges, but Ally continues to have the courage to face and overcome them."
When Ally was only 10 months old, she was rushed to the emergency room after an accident at daycare.
There, they found that she had MPS, a disease that her parents had never heard of before. Along with other symptoms, they were also informed that Ally would also have a severely shortened lifespan. She is now nearly halfway through high school and has a life full of friends and hobbies. This is all thanks to a new treatment for MPS I that only five people have had the opportunity to try, and it's not lost on Ally how amazing it is that she's one of them.
"I'm really lucky," she said. "Not all kids with MPS can afford the treatment."
This is because it requires her to be injected with $11,000 worth of medication every week in five hour sessions.
Ally has also had many great experiences as a result of her MPS. When she was eight years old, the Make-a-Wish Foundation gave her the chance to meet Miley Cyrus and the cast of Hannah Montana. She's also been to MPS conferences and met kids with the same disability.
Even with all of the challenges she's faced, Ally continues to have a positive outlook. She participates in the student newspaper, social mustangs, and photography. Her attitude throughout all the troubles is inspirational, and she has managed to grow into a fun and charismatic young lady despite it all.