College freshman moving on despite disability

November 11, 2012

A young west suburban college student is moving on with her life plans with a positive outlook, despite her disability.

Eighteen-year-old Nicole Kramer has an amazing attitude about herself and her disability.

Challenged by a heart condition, scoliosis and some speech difficulty, she is determined to succeed.

At the College of DuPage, Kramer is just like any other first semester student.

"It's going good," she said. "I like it a lot."

Even though DuPage's campus is big, Kramer needs very little accommodations getting around.

"Walking has been increasingly getting worse and harder," she said. "I don't have much walking cause all my classes are in one building. So I've been doing fine with it. I've been getting into class on time so I haven't needed anything but the only thing that I really use is like the elevator because it's easier."

At the age of 15 Kramer was diagnosed with Friedreich's ataxia. Her mom, Kelly, said she had scoliosis when she was in 7th grade.

"Then after wearing her brace, we found her heart condition which is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and then finally they pieced it all together sophomore year in high school," Kelly Kramer said.

Her high school years were hard.

"Especially because Nicole's heart condition is severe so that she's a risk of sudden cardiecta, so like her scoliosis hasn't changed and her balance is worsening," Kelly Kramer said.

Finding the cure for Friedreich's ataxia is a dream but raising awareness is also essential.

"This shirt that I'm wearing is from a ride that we did to raise money and raise awareness they tried to raise money so they can do research to find a cure and treatment," said Nicole Kramer.

Nicole's goal is to get an associate degree in science at the college of DuPage and then go on to earn a bachelor's degree.

"I want to do something with service animal like training them," she said. "I want to make it more affordable because I personally want a service dog but it's really expensive to train a dog to be like a service dog,"

The prognosis for Friedreich's ataxia affects people differently.

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