DALLAS One year ago, 13-year-old Natalie Newman could walk and run with no problems.
She could talk without slurring her speech.
She could hold her toothbrush without dropping it.
What a difference a year makes.
Natalie went to the hospital for spinal meningitis, and after a battery of tests at Children's Medical Center Dallas, doctors discovered she had a rare disease called Friedreich's ataxia, or FA.
It's a neuromuscular disorder where there's no connection between the brain and her nerves, explained Donna Newman, the girl's mother. She knows she is standing, but her brain does not communicate with her muscles.
The disease eventually causes muscles to atrophy or deteriorate.
The teenager from Mabank is feeling the effects. It makes me feel like I'll trip every step I take, Natalie said.