Gymnast's dream of attending Olympics made possible

June 30, 2008 5:01:20 PM PDT
Before she was stricken by a crippling disease, Nikki Rhum of Buffalo Grove was one of the best gymnasts in the state. The disease took away her dream of one day competing in the Olympics. But, the Make-A-Wish Foundation will make part of that dream come true.

It's a dream come true for the 12-year-old. She's going to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"I can't do gymnastics anymore because I'm always dizzy. I get headaches a lot, stomach pain, joint pain, chest pains and a lot of weird things happening to me," Nikki said.

She had always hoped to attend the games as a U.S. team member, but a debilitating cardiac disease has cut her career short.

"It's called POTS. It stands for postural orthostatic tapacardio-syndrome/ So we ended up going to a cardiologist. We had to go all the way to Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Blair Grubb, and he diagnosed her. He diagnosed her right away," said Jodi Rhum, Nikki's mom.

Her family hopes this trip will not only lift Nikki's spirit, but also raise awareness.

Nikki's friend, 8-year-old Brielle Imana also has the disease. She can no longer walk as a result.

"This is what people don't all know, that, the POTS, there's varying degrees. Exercise is one thing they want you to do, which she had been doing quite a bit of, and her legs started buckling underneath her. She wasn't able to walk without support," said Julie Imana, Brielle's mom. "A few weeks later she couldn't really move her arms."

There is little known about the cause of the condition or treatment for it. Symptoms improve for some children as they become adults. Both families are clinging to hope.

For more information visit http://dynakids.org/


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