Teen with Arthritis Dreams Big with a Big Show

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In a few days a performance hall in Kansas City will come alive with music and art in a benefit show to help kids and adults with arthritis.  The impresario putting it all together is Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever Kasie Goodfellow. 

Kasie's a high school senior living with arthritis who wants us all to focus on what people with challenging conditions can do -- instead of on any limitations.

Nearly a year of hard work on a demanding special event is coming down to a hectic final few days for Kasie Goodfellow.  Kasie has to do a required senior project at Holden High School in Holden, MO and she sure didn't go for something simple.

"I love music and  I dream really big," says Kasie, eyes sparkling.  "Just hearing on the news what other people have done, why can't I do something that big?"  

So she is -- putting on a major entertainment event.  And she got the people at the elegant Scottish Rite Temple to let her use the hall for free as the venue.  It will be a showcase of performing and visual art to spotlight creative young people with disabling conditions.

"I hope they feel like stars," says Kasie.  "I want it to be really important to them.  And to make it mean a lot."  

She's calling the show This Ability -- a play on the word "disability."

"I wanted everyone to know that even though everyone has a challenge, a struggle," says Kasie, "you can overcome it, and dream big."  

Kasie's promoting the show at places like Children's Mercy Hospital, hanging fliers and posters she designed herself. Kasie and her parents have spent a lot of time at the hospital with Chief of Rheumatology Dr. Andrew Lasky and his staff since she was nine -- when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

"Kasie is pretty special on lots of different levels," says Dr. Lasky.  "As a patient, she's always been upbeat."

"It was really a life-changing experience," says Kasie of learning she had rheumatoid arthritis and having do do all the therapy and take all the medicines for it.  "But I decided to look at it in a positive way rather than dwell on the fact I have a disability."  

And when her arthritis made it way too painful and exhausting for Kasie to play sports, she turned to music, becoming a very talented singer and musician -- which now has inspired her to put on her big show.

"That is pretty unimaginable for someone so young as herself to put together something that is so amazing," says Dr. Lasky with admiration.  

The upcoming This Ability show is Kasie's latest achievement on her growing resume' as an advocate for children and adults with arthritis.

"This isn't something she's doing just as a senior project, this is part of her life," says Steve Rock of the Arthritis Foundation.  Kasie's show is a benefit for the Arthritis Foundation.  For years she's been an active fundraiser and child ambassador for the foundation which even sent her to Washington, DC last year to lobby Congress on health care legislation.

"Clearly this isn't a fluke," says Rock.  "This is something she is very passionate about and for obvious reasons.  And yeah, this goes back years."  

With her show just a few days off now, Kasie isn't sure how well it will go over but she is certain of one thing.  She'll continue to dream big.

"Dreaming can become reality," says Kasie.  "As long as you get that mindset, that this could become reality, then anything can happen."

Kasie's going to sing at the show and her dad's Classic Rock band, Revolution, will perform in concert.  The show is Saturday afternoon, April 9th, at the Scottish Rite Temple at Linwood and The Paseo in Kansas City.  For details, click here.

You can nominate someone to be a Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever.  Go to the main Reaching 4 Excellence page of this website.  Past stories are posted there and at the bottom of the page you'll find criteria for the recognition and a form to complete to make a nomination.  

FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments.  In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism.  Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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