A Western New York girl, who’s fought hard every day of her life, was granted an incredible wish.
Lana Stroehlein is a cheerleader, but tumbling is her passion.
The Make A Wish Foundation helped her dream of flipping alongside Simone Biles come true.
Lana hasn’t had it easy, but looking at her today, you would never know.
“She’s like sunshine. When you walk into practice and watch her on the floor she’s just like a shiny kid,” said Laura Voigt, the owner of Elite Heat All Stars.
It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point.
“She’s got tons of good balance, as you can see in some of her tumbling, she can flip really high and she’s not very tall and that’s usually a good sign of someone who’s going to be strong in the future,” said Lana’s tumbling coach, Evan Bylewski.
But Lana has already proven her strength.
“She’s defied all odds,” said her mother, Meegan.
As an infant, Doctors had to remove Lana’s pancreas because it was producing too much insulin.
Doctors also detected a bleed on her brain, leading to devastating news.
“She may never be able to talk, walk or eat. You’re not prepared. When you’re pregnant you don’t know that there’s something wrong with your child you don’t have time to prepare yourself for anything like that. You’re thrown into it not understanding any medical terms,” said Meegan.
Today, Lana is a brittle diabetic.
She wears two devices on the back of her arms.
One is an insulin pump, the other monitors her glucose.
They work together to stabilize her blood sugar.
“I don’t think they had any hope for me but here I am,” said Lana.
In 2018, The Make A Wish Foundation granted Lana her wish for being such a fighter.
She got the chance to travel to Texas to tumble alongside the greatest gymnast of all time, SimoneBiles.
She said it was the coolest experience of her life.
“We did a round off back tuck together and her height was like… I have no words for it,” said Lana.
Simone isn’t just a role model on the floor, but outside of the gym, too.
Among the hurdles she’s overcome, she’s a survivor of child sex abuse.
“She definitely keeps me going,” said Lana.
The most impactful thing Lana walked away with is a simple message that she’ll hold onto forever.
“Simone had told her she was a star. She whispered in her ear and said you are a star you’re gonna go so far with her tumbling… she pulls that and it pushes her through,” said Meegan.
“I was screaming in my head. But I didn’t say anything,” said Lana.
“It’s so hard to believe that she went from that kind of devastating news to here she is today… she’s on her hands more than her own two feet,” saidMeegan.
Her strong will and determination to not let her condition slow her down not only makes her family proud, but it has everyone around her in awe.
“It’s one of those moments in life where you get to sit back and look at the beauty of the human existence because she’s such a great kid and we get to work with her,” said Voigt.