Teen diagnosed with MS at a young age refuses to give in and signs up for track team

One inspirational teenager is touching hearts after refusing to let a devastating diagnosis keep her from doing the things she loves.

Finding the willpower and strength to tackle a crippling disease head-on is a difficult task for many people after receiving devastating diagnoses. Some are born with the power to fight, but others weren’t bestowed this wonderful gift. Then there are the outliers who refuse to be slowed down by their condition, and they take the fight to a whole new level.

©YouTube Screenshot | ABC News

Kayla Montgomery, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at only 14 years old. The once elite soccer player learned of her condition after losing feeling in her feet and legs in days following a minor fall on the soccer field. “I was mad,” Kayla tells ABC News. “I was really mad.”

Instead of internalizing that anger and self-destructing, Kayla turned it into a source of determination as she took up long-distance running. Kayla joined her school’s indoor and outdoor track team, as well as the cross-country team.

Team coach Patrick Cromwell described her speed as “average at best,” and Kayla also admitted that she started out as “kind of slow.”

©YouTube Screenshot | ABC News

Slowly, she got faster and faster, but running takes a massive physical toll. By the time Kayla reaches the finish line, she cannot feel anything below her waist. Her increased body temperature makes the MS worse, and the numbing of her lower extremities means she’s unable to stop running on her own.

Patrick stands at the finish line of every race, arms stretched, ready to catch her as she crashes into him and slumps to the ground. Once her body cools and she’s given water, the feeling to her legs returns.

Kayla refuses to let her lifelong uphill battle stop her from doing the things she loves. Nowadays, she runs for Lipscomb University’s track and field team, and each race is as big of a battle as the last, but she’s determined to never give in to her disease.

Keep on fighting, Kayla!

Watch Kayla’s story here:

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