PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — It was the most challenging and perhaps most rewarding senior year Emily Rodman could ask for.
She played played softball and volleyball at Peoria Christian. And also cheered for the basketball team.
And did it all in the final five months of the school year.
“I wasn’t around a lot of people because we were split up in different groups with COVID,” Rodman said. “It gave me an opportunity I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
You’d never know it but she has scarring of her lungs, diagnosed with a rare condition called Swyer-James Syndrome. Essentailly her lungs work at about 50 percent normal capacity for an 18-year-old.
Breathing can be difficult, especially went active. Wearing a mask while competing makes things more difficult.
“For me the hardest thing is getting my breath after I have started becoming tired because I have a hard time breathing in,” said Rodman. “I can’t recover until I completely stop.”
But she rarely stops. Her first love is dancing.
She has multiple practices a week and even teaches dance to youngsters.
“I like to think about the lung syndrome not as ‘what I can’t do because of it’ but what now can I do because of it,” said Rodman.
She’s heading off to Taylor University in the fall. Then nursing school.
Her goal is help others with lung issues. And encouraging young people to breath in life, even if it’s hard to do it.
“I want to be that encouragement for other kids who might be going through the same thing.”