Local middle school student beats the odds despite devastating diagnosis

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LECLAIRE, Iowa (KWQC) - As track season begins, Madi Ramirez is ready to do what she's always done: the impossible.

The Pleasant Valley middle schooler competed in her first track meet this week, in her wheelchair.

Ramirez, 13, has been beating the odds ever since her Spinal Muscular Atrophy diagnosis. She was two-years-old at the time, still crawling and she eventually learned to walk.

"When she was diagnosed they told us that there was no cure or no treatment," said Megan Ramirez, Madi's mom. "They said that she would probably die in her teen years."

SMA is a wasting disease, with her muscles deteriorating over time.

Ramirez lost the ability to walk when she was 11. The disease started taking over her body.

In 2016, a drug called Spinraza became the first FDA approved treatment for SMA. The family says it's helping. She can crawl again and she can easily feed herself.

Still, the ultimate goal is finding a cure.

Friday, April 12 is the fourth annual Cure SMA Evening of Hope at Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport. It's being held in honor of Madi Ramirez.