A Maryland girl paralyzed from the waist down had her wish fulfilled Tuesday when she walked on the runway during New York Fashion Week, ABC News reported.
For nearly the past two years, 19-year-old Megan Silcott has suffered from a rare neurological disorder called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which resulted from an undiagnosed case of mononucleosis or “mono.”
Mono, also called the “kissing disease,” is common among teenagers and often goes away after a few weeks with a sore throat, nausea and fatigue. But that wasn’t the case for Silcott, as the infection ended up manifesting into the more serious illness ADEM. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ADEM is characterized by inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, which damages myelin, the protective covering of nerve fibers.
ADEM reportedly attacked Silcott one morning when she couldn’t get out of bed after a night out with friends.
“The neurologist said this was not going to be a sprint; it was going to be a marathon,” Jen Silcott, Megan’s mother, told ABC’s Good Morning America.
Megan had been a healthy athlete prior to her diagnosis, and she has always dreamed of becoming a model.
Medical Daily reported that the teen attended therapy at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore and initially used a power chair when she was in the process of regaining function in her arms and legs. Although she was originally diagnosed as a quadriplegic, therapy has allowed her to regain function above her waist. Today, she can walk on her own with the aid of a walker.
After hearing Megan’s story, fashion designer Nina Perdomo asked the young woman to walk in her show using a walker and donning one of the designer’s original looks. Participating in the show involved all the bells and whistles for regular models, including full hair and makeup.
“I design for a woman that is strong and knows what she wants from life,” Perdomo told GMA. “And I feel like Megan is the perfect example of that.”
Silcott told GMA she thought she’d never be able to walk again, but that she has resolved not to let her paralysis stop her from achieving her dreams.
“You know, it just goes to show that anything is possible,” Silcott told GMA. “If you put your mind to it, it can get done.”