Since I was little, I’ve loved gymnastics. I would practice doing flips and cartwheels at home, even when I was six. I remember once when I was trying to do a flip, I fell on my head. It scared me out of doing it for awhile, but then I got up courage and started doing it again. Even when gymnastics is hard, I love it. It makes me feel free and happy. When I flip, I can feel the wind. It’s a cool feeling.
The problem with gymnastics is that I can’t always do it. I have sickle cell so it prevents me from doing what I love the most. This is really hard. I used to ask my dad if I could do ice skating or ballet, but I couldn’t because of my condition. I remember once in 4th grade I had low blood count and I had to go to the hospital. So, I was expecting a talk from my dad telling me I can’t do activities like gymnastics anymore. When he gave it to me, I felt sad. Whenever I would see gymnasts on TV, I would cry. It’s hard to deal with something like that when you’re so young. My sisters continued to do gymnastics and that would bring a smile to my face. I would learn from what they were doing and practicing. But inside I felt like why couldn’t I be doing that with them?
I have big dreams like going to the Olympics, but my sickle cell is an obstacle. Now it’s up and down because sometimes I can do it and sometimes I can’t. Yesterday was a good day for me. I went to gymnastics and it felt great to be tumbling again. When I turned around I saw my mom smiling and I felt happy. I hope that I can continue gymnastics throughout my life because it always brings joy to me. I will pray to God that he will guide me through this sickle cell and not let me get sick. I want to run, jump, somersault, and flip my way to happiness.
by Mojisola, age 13
photo by Ida-Maria Lehto via flickr