Amanda and Emily Gale are twin sisters who have never let primary immunodeficiency diseases (PI) stop them from achieving at the highest levels–literally. As reported on the Immune Deficiency Foundation’s website, as well as in articles for Yahoo Sports! and the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the sisters have not only succeeded at juggling the demands of a serious chronic illness, they’ve excelled at academics and at pole vaulting.
Yes, these two girls have literally aimed at great heights and succeeded even though their conditions make them especially susceptible to life-threatening infections. Emily was diagnosed during their sophomore year of high school with hypogammaglobulinemia. Amanda was diagnosed at the very same time with common variable immune deficiency, or CVID. They credit having each other to lean on as an important factor in their acceptance of their diseases.
Emily believes that accepting their diagnoses was critical. “When I accepted my [primary immunodeficiency] disease, I began understanding my own limitations and ultimately allowing myself to thrive,” she said.
Amanda concedes that it took them a while to get there, however. “When I was first diagnosed it was hard to understand because I felt healthy,” she explained, “When I got sick in my junior year of high school, I realized how difficult my PI condition could be…it took time, but the more I faced my fears (needles, etc.) the more I accepted it. Once I began to independently infuse myself, needles and all, I took control of my future.”
They learned that it was important to keep on a schedule, get all the rest they needed, and not to push themselves past their bodies’ limits. But that didn’t stop them from accomplishing more than many people not facing the challenges of chronic illness. In fact, the girls, avid bakers, turned their sweet tooths into both gifts and fundraising opportunities, a venture they immortalized on their Instagram account.
Today the sisters are 20 years old and aiming high at another goal: careers in medicine, which they are pursing at the University of Miami.
The moral of the story? Never underestimate the power of positivity…. and pole vaulting!
If you want to read even more about these two amazing sisters, click the link below: