Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

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September 30, 2013

Teen with neuromuscular disease crowned homecoming queen

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE, Pa. —

Brittany's muscles continued to atrophy and, by age 8, when she was in third grade, she began to lose her ability to get around. The Chiezes found that a wheelchair was the only choice. At age 14, she was placed on a ventilator and was not able to return to school.

Brittany keeps in touch with classmates through visits and Facebook. Her escort for homecoming, Rocco Fiorilli, was a longtime friend.

"He's not a boyfriend, just a friend," Brittany said, adding with a laugh, "a really cute friend."

Brittany's long-term prognosis is uncertain, although many patients with conditions similar to hers do not live more than 10 to 14 years.

Rochelle said Brittany does not dwell on the negative, and that is what sustains them.

"She's a happy person," Rochelle said. "She has an unbelievable attitude and it is contagious to everyone around her. She has been through a lot in her young life and has never complained."

Brittany simply refuses to give in to her disease.

"I live one day at a time," Brittany said with a smile that sparkled as much as her crown. "That's all you can do. I think I'm a pretty lucky girl."

Kayleen Cubbal writes for The New Castle (Pa.) News.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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