Chesnee H, age 7

Photograph by Margaret DiBiase (2022)

If only one word could be used to describe Chesnee, it would be happy. She is always smiling or giggling, even though sometimes her giggles may mean she is getting into something she shouldn’t. Her amazing smile helps her connect with others quickly. “Even on Chesnee’s worst day, she is smiling,” her mom says. “If she can do what she does and still smile, so can I!”

This year, one of Chesnee’s accomplishments has been joining a second grade classroom with her typically developing peers, which has been very successful for her. She has made many friends and can’t go anywhere without someone saying hello to her. She loves being around her peers and they love to be around her.

Chesnee’s diagnosis of mitochondrial disease has made her family cherish every moment even more. Mitochondrial disease is long-term, genetic disorder that occurs when mitochondria fail to produce enough energy for the body to function properly. Because of this, they bought an RV so they could travel and experience the world to its fullest. When her family isn’t traveling in their RV, Chesnee loves playing with animals (especially donkeys) and playing on the swings.

Si se pudiera utilizar una sola palabra para describir a Chesnee, sería feliz. Siempre está sonriendo o riendo, aunque a veces sus risas pueden significar que se está metiendo en algo que no debería. Su increíble sonrisa le ayuda a conectar con los demás rápidamente. “Incluso en el peor día de Chesnee, sonríe”, dice su madre. “Si ella puede hacer lo que hace y seguir sonriendo, yo también”.

Este año, uno de los logros de Chesnee ha sido incorporarse a un aula de segundo grado con sus compañeros de desarrollo típico, lo cual ha sido muy exitoso para ella. Ha hecho muchos amigos y no puede ir a ningún sitio sin que alguien la salude. Le encanta estar con sus compañeros y a ellos les encanta estar con ella.

El diagnóstico de la enfermedad mitocondrial de Chesnee ha hecho que su familia aprecie aún más cada momento. La enfermedad mitocondrial es un trastorno genético de larga duración que se produce cuando las mitocondrias no producen suficiente energía para que el organismo funcione correctamente. Por ello, compraron una autocaravana para poder viajar y conocer el mundo al máximo. Cuando su familia no está viajando en su autocaravana, a Chesnee le encanta jugar con los animales (especialmente con los burros) y jugar en los columpios.

Family Connection of South Carolina provides services and resources to families who have a child with a disability or specialized healthcare need. Since 1990 we have served more than 100,000 families and today our services are needed more than ever. We focus on parent-to-parent support, guidance with navigating the complex healthcare system, and assistance with school meetings and special education plans.