Kennedy is a 2014 Kid Captain | Blank Children's Hospital
Blank Children's Hospital

Kennedy

Mothers and daughters often share traits, which is part of the reason their relationships are so strong. Nicole (mom) and Kennedy Ihrig's bond is even closer, as they both live with Bethlem Myopathy Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD), a disease occurring at birth that affects muscle development.

"Since I have lived with this my whole life, I know exactly what Kennedy will face," said Nicole. "I have also seen how science and research are working and moving forward."

Kennedy is part of the progress being made with the disorder, participating in several CMD studies to help further research; it's just one way her empathetic spirit shines. Additionally, she works hard with therapy and exercises.

In between doctor visits and therapy, this busy girl just keeps smiling, unless you wake her up too early. Kennedy stays involved with middle school volleyball and softball along with holding the manager position for the wrestling team. She also sat on the student council and when she can, Kennedy enjoys vacationing and going shopping - although her parents would tell you she might like the latter a bit too much.

The Ihrigs are incredibly thankful for the care they've received from doctors, nurses, therapists and of course, their family, all of whom believe in finding a cure for CMD.

 "Our family has been amazing," said Nicole. "They've been there on the good days, and they've been there on the bad days."

While facing a disease such as CMD is difficult, Kennedy still believes anything is possible. She's learned to incorporate laughter into her fight, and she focuses and works on the things she can control.

 "We love Kennedy very much, and every minute of every day, my thoughts are with her and for her," said Nicole. "Her life can be anything she wants - she just needs to have faith, hope, love and most importantly, laughter."