She may not be able to turn flips or seemingly float in midair, but one young woman does not let challenges stop her; instead she uses challenges for motivation not discouragement.
Katelyn Heck began anchoring Eyewitness News Mornin’ for 13WMAZ in Central Georgia in February 2014. Most of her viewers do not know she has lived with an injury she suffered when she was born that can prevent her arm and hand muscles from working properly.
Heck has a Brachial Plexus injury. According to 13WMAZ, when she was born, “her neck was pulled and damaged her nerves. That affected her arm and her diaphragm, which made it difficult to breathe.”
According to the TV station’s story, she spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She has had hours of physical therapy and seven surgeries, coming “much further than doctors imagined.”
Heck, however, said, “It’s something I’m actually thankful for,” says Katelyn. “It’s made me who I am today.”
According to her father, Fritz Heck, when his daughter holds a microphone, “that’s because of that surgery she’s able to at least grip some.”
Katelyn says she learned how to adapt “through support, a lot of hard work, and a mantra of never saying ‘I can’t.'”
She told the TV station that people may not be able to figure how to do something one way, but they can find another way to do it. And that’s what she did. “I spent countless hours all the time when I was younger, trying to figure out how to put my hair in a ponytail or how to tie my shoes or how to type on a computer.”
Her mother, Maria Heck, said in the story that as her daughter “got older and got more into a spotlight and more into a career, she would step out a little bit more and a little bit more and gain the confidence that she needs in order to do what she does now.”
At times, though, Heck worried people would pay more attention to her injury than to her as a journalist. She told 13WMAZ that she “was so afraid people would notice, and that they would notice that and not my journalism.” And, she said, “That really took me longer than I care to admit to really get over and become comfortable with.”
One special person did notice Heck. Read how Heck has inspired a high school student who suffers from a different disease that affects her hands.