EL PASO, Texas -- She's not your average 5th grader. For starters, Genesis Wilson is taller than most. She won her school's spelling bee, so we know she's smarter than most, and she's great at chess and painting. She's also battling Marfan syndrome - something she was diagnosed with at a very young age. Now, at ten, she's well aware of the differences between herself and her classmates, and she has a message to share: don't make fun of others because they're different.
"Almost everybody will call me names or try to bully me because I can't do certain stuff in PE, but like I said, it doesn't bother me because I don't like being like other kids," says Genesis. Marfan Syndrome is a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects her heart, eyes, skin, lungs and bones. She's not able to stretch, do things like yoga, or exert herself physically. In the near future, she'll have an aorta replacement. Her grandmother tells me she's been to countless doctors offices, and had many surgeries.
Rather than focus on her limitations, she enjoys pursing things she can, like painting, reading, playing chess, decorating her room and collecting crystals. She also aspires to be a model. Her grandmother, Michelle Haught, taught her from an early age that her mind would be her greatest achievement. Now, she's spreading an anti-bullying message as well, noting that words hurt, and communication can lead to greater understanding, no matter what challenges people are facing.
"People call me a lot of names for being tall and when I tell them the reason for being tall, they try to take it back most of the time," she adds. Her grandmother agrees.
"i would like to have kids talk together about what they're going through," Haught says. For more information about Marfan Syndrome, click here.