Overcoming a disability to help others
Angela Folie truly believes that it is not what happens to a person that determines if his or her life will be great, but rather how someone chooses to cope with the situation and make the best of it.
Folie, daughter of Ken and Judy Folie of Kasson, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) when she was four years old. Despite her physical disability, Folie was determined to make a career for herself and is now a clinical psychologist at Courage Kenny Rehab Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
“My mom seemed to notice that I would lose my balance easily and moved around a little bit differently than my older brother,” she said. “She was watching the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Labor Day Telethon and there was some child that was going out on stage and my mom thought that child walked like her daughter.”
Her mother brought her to the Mayo Clinic and her diagnosis was confirmed. SMA means that Folie’s motor neurons, or the nerves that control moving her muscles, don’t effectively communicate to the muscles to get them to move.
“It affects my voluntary muscles, so anything that you can move under your control…arms, legs, but it doesn’t affect the heart, brain or any of the organs,” she explained.
The disability is a recessive disorder, meaning that both Ken and Judy had to carry the gene for the