By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — October is Spina Bifida Awareness month. Spina Bifida is the most common birth defect, occurring in about one in 3,000 births.

Twelve-year-old Jimmy Trenary, of Bloomington, was born with Spina Bifida. He remembers the exact moment he knew he was different.

READ MORE: Enjoying The Weather Extremes Of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

“When we ran the mile [at school], I was terrible at it … I cannot do this,” Trenary said, through tears, “I’m just like wow, I’m different.”

At first glance though, you’d never know he faces mobility challenges. He’s able to walk normally thanks to leg braces and advancements in treatment over the years. In the last decade, neurosurgeons at Children’s Minnesota are doing new procedures that reduce the number of times patients need surgeries.

“We’re now shunting only about 50% of the children with Spina Bifida,” Dr. Joseph Petronio, the director of neurosurgery at Children’s Minnesota, said.

READ MORE: Does Cold Weather Affect COVID Test Kits And Results?

Shunting is the process of draining fluid that’s putting pressure on the brain.

Trenary is seeing the improvements in his everyday life. He plays on an adaptive sled hockey team and wheel chair softball.

“I’m playing many different sports that I don’t feel different in,” he said, “I’m just like, ‘Wow, I’ve changed’ and I thank everyone.”

Trenary’s goal is to someday play hockey on the U.S. Paralympic team.

MORE NEWS: 'I Was Flabbergasted': Missing Badge Of Hastings Officer Killed In 1894 Rediscovered

Find out how you can support kids like Jimmy, click here.

Marielle Mohs