30 Days of MD: Jenna Milidan

30 Days of MD: Jenna Milidan
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Day 18 of 30 Days of MD Topic: Love for the Outdoors and MD This is @jenna.rose5’s story: As a kid, I grew up with a great love for the outdoors and travel. My family went camping in the mountains of California almost every weekend, and we traveled to new places often. At home, I would spend my days at the stables learning how to work with horses and how to ride. I was a really active kid and nothing made me happier than being able to travel and hike in unique places, and spend time at the barn. My love for the outdoors grew into a love for science and biology, and I figured out in high school that I wanted to be a biologist. It wasn’t until my junior year that I was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy, resulting from a new gene mutation variant that hadn’t been seen by the doctors before. My symptoms started in 7th grade beginning as pain in my legs, but then progressing to muscle weakness all over and bone dislocations. After being diagnosed, I was fitted for custom leg braces to help me walk and keep me stabilized. While my symptoms affect muscles all over my body and are present in my daily life, the braces are the reason I am still able to do the things I love. Today, I’m starting my senior year of college majoring in environmental biology, and was recently accepted into the Master’s program for environmental science. I have been doing undergraduate research studying evolution and adaptation in rare plant species since my freshman year, and will continue this research for my Master’s thesis. My research takes me to remote places in the field every summer to find these rare species, which involves a lot of hiking that I am very lucky to still be able to do. I still have the same love for horses since I was really little, and have been riding for 17 years. I now work with a lot of horses with a history of abuse at home, and am on the competitive equestrian team at school. Photography has also become a big part of my life, and I love to capture the landscapes on my travels. My life has changed a lot since my diagnosis, but being able to do the things I love is all I could ever ask for. #MDAwarenessMonth #MDAwareness #30DaysofMD

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