Queen Creek teen battles disease and loss together - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Queen Creek teen battles disease and loss together

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Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 6:13 pm

After struggling with advanced muscular dystrophy for years, a 16-year-old Queen Creek girl found out she won't be able to walk soon.

But that's not the only battle she's been fighting. Setback after setback seemed to keep coming her way.

With the help of Make-a-Wish Arizona, along with family and friends, Tiffany Banas has been given the hope she needs to carry on.

"I always kind of walked with a curve in my back, and I was a lot slower than the other kids," she said.

She received the gift of a lifetime, when Make-a-Wish chose to fulfill her lifelong dream of walking on the beach in Hawaii.

Tiffany's grandparents Karen and John are also her guardians, and they were happy to be there too.

"She doesn't know how long it's going to be before she's in a wheelchair and can't do this, these kinds of things. So be able to do this, and see the smiles on her face, is just awesome," Karen Banas said at the airport.

They spent six days in Oahu full of sun, sand and the ocean. Tiffany even got the chance to swim with dolphins.

But Tiffany's walk on the beach didn't go as smoothly as she expected.

"I was walking into the beach, and the waves came up and took me under. And I fell, and I was like how am I going to get up?" she said.

Even in paradise, she was reminded she couldn't escape her disease. And that's not all she's up against. In the past few years, Tiffany lost her mom to breast cancer and her dad died too.

"So a bunch of things sort of happened in this short amount of time, and then I found out I had muscular dystrophy, and I was like well great," Tiffany said.

Tiffany moved in with her grandparents as the disease progressed.

"Having muscular dystrophy definitely made me realize that like little things that people take for granted are really important," she said.

But she's not struggling alone. Karen and John are there to help her every step of the way.

"It breaks your heart when you see her. She'll be walking down to her bedroom and all of a sudden she disappears. And it's like, 'oh, there she is.' Because she just falls," Karen said.

And every day Tiffany's strength to get back up again inspires Karen to keep fighting too. Because Karen is fighting colon cancer.

"Looking at me, you can't say, 'oh she's got cancer.' But looking at Tiffany, you know something is wrong," she said.

She says having Tiffany there with her is a blessing.

"I have to be here for her. I have to help her through life, and all of her tribulations, and it's like, I don't have time to be sick," she said.

So they're pushing ahead and leaning on each other.

"Everyone has trials and tribulations that they go through, and we're fighters. We have to keep moving, and do what we can do," Karen said.

Tiffany's wish was actually the 4,500th wish granted here in Arizona.

Employees from several Jack in the Box locations raised the money for her trip.

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