Meghan Waldron, a 16-year-old girl in Massachusetts, disregards comments about her size, “Sure I’m small, but so are poison dart frogs!”
Meghan runs track and country, plays violin and cello, and writes poetry and stories. When she was 13, her poem was published in Stone Soup, a children’s literary magazine. People who know her say she’s always been a writer. More recently, she wrote a children’s book called “Running on the Wind,” and now she’s working on a novel.
She also lives with progeria, which causes rapid aging. She’s actually a Youth Ambassador for Progeria Research Foundation, where she engages the public, gives speeches, and facilitates community engagement.
Progeria isn’t the topic Meghan wants to center her life around. She found trips to medical centers waiting for a diagnosis boring. Essentially, progeria is a rare condition that happens when a random mutation accelerates aging. Patients with progeria live in the body of a much older person, which leads to severe, life-limiting health complications. To learn more about progeria, click here.
Meghan’s recent children’s book “Running on the Wind” is about a bird named Cassidy, who wasn’t born in a nest and can’t fly. Cassidy, like Megan, the competitive track athlete, learns to run instead.
Her book was published by a non-profit publishing company, the Red Fred Project.
The Red Fred Project gives a space for creative kids in extraordinary situations to tell their story. They tell it professionally, and produce a well-designed book. The books are expensive to create, and the non-profit relies entirely on donations. The Red Fred Project seeks to help kids and teens create something they feel satisfied with and reach adult accomplishments ahead of time. Profits from the book return to the child and their family, who can choose what to do with it. In the past, some kids have donated it to research, and others have used it to help pay off medical expenses.
Dallas Graham, the project founder, explains to Forbes, this is how we, as humans, seek value and validation in the world. We produce meaningful things. We leave a last legacy that connects with others, that helps us find our place in the world.
This is true for young people as well as adults. It’s true for people who may not have the time to develop sets of skills that would allow them to reach this accomplishment as an adult. It’s a hunger you can see in Meghan, who, at 16, has pursued her passions, adopted small creatures, created music and poetry, advocated on behalf of her community, and taken advantage of every opportunity within reach.