A devastating medical diagnosis could have derailed Kelby Balch's education -- and her life.
Instead she became more determined than ever to achieve.
Kelby was 16 when she was diagnosed with Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder. An active student and beautiful dancer, she now had to consider a future that included her illness.
Despite a struggle that included countless specialist appointments, hundreds of tests, a dependence on crutches, then a wheelchair and, ultimately, surgery, Kelby graduated from George Brown College.
Very ill when enrolled in the Intervenor for Deaf Blind program, Kelby had to stop halfway through for critical surgery and recovery time.
"I just kept looking at the final goal. I didn't let anything get me down or stop me. I went to school pretty sick, until the sickness overcame. And even then I was determined to persevere."
Kelby credits her family and friends for the love and support that helped her succeed.
Now 22, Kelby continues taking online classes, working to complete the second of four courses to be certified in Braille.
Story by Jaymie Nelson
Photo by Keepsake Photography