Reporting Matt Brickman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A couple months ago, Matt Brickman and WCCO photographer Carly Danek were asked to work on a project for the Make-A-Wish foundation.
The family of a girl named Tana wished for a video of Tana’s friends and classmates talking about what they’ve learned from having her in class.
Classmate Madison explains what it’s like to be around Tana.
“She’s just like a great friend to go do things with,” she said.
Tana’s mom Stacey became pregnant with Tana during her third year of law school.
“Never crossed my mind that I might have a kid with a disability,” she said. “It doesn’t cross most people’s minds until the child arrives.”
She still remembers the meeting with the neurologist.
“She said Tana was never going to walk, never going to talk, and the tears were running down my face,” Stacey said. “Her life flashes before my eyes — silly things like she’s never going to ride a bike, never going to get married.”
And since the first day of kindergarten, Tana – who has cerebral palsy – has been alongside her peers in class.
“She has a nice fancy wheelchair with wheels that light up, and I’m kind of jealous of that actually,” Justin said.
Grace explained that everybody is different, and it’s a good thing.
“She has abilities, and disabilities, and people just look at her maybe and say, ‘Oh, she has disabilities, we shouldn’t be friends with her,’” Grace said. “And then I look at them and say, ‘We all have disabilities, and we all have abilities.’”
Stacey couldn’t be happier with the students Tana has met along the way.
“There are many days when I don’t know why they’re so sweet,” she said. “I often say we fell into a pool of angels.”