Facing Turners, Finding Strength: Part II

Posted at: 02/14/2013 12:21 PM
Updated at: 02/15/2013 3:18 PM
By: Brittany Falkers

Becca Nygaard and Katie Taylor share something very unique.

"Well, I have a lot of joint problems, I have quintus aurelius in my elbows.  They are unable to straighten all the way," Becca said.
"TS, effects me physically, for my shortness and then I have this finger thing where the turner syndrome makes this finger shorter," Katie said.

Turner Syndrome, or TS, is the unwanted bond they share. "Normally, I can talk to my friends, but not in the same way as, let's say Katie, because they don't fully understand what may be going on," Becca said.

TS is a random genetic abnormality that effects only women, but these two aren't letting it get in their way.

"I just wanted to let all of the other Turner Syndrome girls know that it doesn't effect your daily life and you can be like a normal person," Katie said. 

At 19-years-old Becca Nygaard and 14-year-old Katie Taylor carry that message of hope and promise to others once a month at the Superior Public Library.  A support group for those with TS, their friends and family.

Katie's mom, Annie Taylor, leads the meetings.  She says TS effects each girl differently and for some that can be really hard socially. "For the young one's mostly, bullying in school," she said, "It's a big thing, just to say, I have Turner syndrome."

Katie and Becca help other and share their stories of coping and living.

In a family with eight siblings it can be hard to stand out, but Katie does it with ease.  She is active in just about everything she can get into.  You can find her honing her skills at drama practice or cheering at Northwestern High school for the Tigers. 

"Well, my favorite activity from cheerleading is probably flying, where they throw you up in the air," Katie said.

However, Katie's new love for flying through the air isn't easy for mom.  "Every time, before, I call the coach and say, 'don't let them' drop her, don't let them' drop her,'" Annie said.

Dr. Brad Miller has treated Katie and Becca. He says TS is physically evident by a girl's short stature, but learning challenges are also prevalent.  Which can cause a lot of girls to live in the shadows in fear of judgement. But he says a lot of girls are surprised to find out how common it really is.

"It actually is one in every 2,500 women birth rate. So, it's more common than we think," Miller said, "So, if you have a small town, you probably have a few women who have TS living there."

That's just one reason these two girls want to spread the word about TS.

"It's important to spread awareness, through the past couple of years, we've had a couple of girls who got diagnosed, but their not really informed what it is or how it effects them," Becca said.

Before starting this Northland chapter TS support group, these girls, and others in our area, had to travel all the way to the Twin Cities or Milwaukee for support.  But not anymore. 

"It's just awesome to be able to talk to other girls and maybe be able to relieve some of the stress they may be having," Becca said.

It's important to spread awareness and keep an open mind, Annie says, because many girls and women with TS are afraid of being labeled or judged.

"With having the support group, I've learned that a lot of people are still, more so embarrassed, or more so worried about the labeling," Annie said. 

Despite the fear, these two girls are determined to overcome those challenges and spread that word of hope to others.  Now, Katie and Becca are looking toward the future. Becca is going to college to become a surgical technician and Katie hopes to be an interpreter, when she grows up.

By coming together they're learning to live with it and embrace it and know, they're not doing it alone.

If you or someone you know has Turner Syndrome, you don't have to be alone either. 

To get involved in the Northland chapter Turner Syndrome support group contact Annie Taylor at eightisenough85@yahoo.com or by calling (218) 428-8715.

For more information on Turner Syndrome visit the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States.


Related Links: Finding Strength, Facing Tuners: Part I