St. Charles (KSDK) -- Talk to a teenager about what she wants for Christmas, and what you'll hear likely won't surprise you, unless that 13-year-old is Lauren Slattery.
She is a 7TH grader at Saint Peter in St. Charles. Lauren loves horses, writing and reading, and while all that sounds pretty normal, she'd tell you, she's anything but.
"What do you want for Christmas," she read from a school essay she wrote last week. "For me, it's always been a pretty tough question."
You see, Lauren was born with an abnormality in her brain. As she got older, she didn't hit physical milestones like other children. Then, just two years ago, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
"All I've ever wanted since I realized I was different was to be normal," she continued to read from the paper. "Like everybody else. However, anytime I say this, anything anybody says is, 'Oh, normal is overrated,' and, 'Oh Lauren, you're perfect the way you are.' No, the normal I'm talking about is not overrated and I'm anything but perfect."
That's where the story about 16-year-old Christian Izquierdo comes in. It ran on NewsChannel 5 in August and featured a physician at St. Louis Children's Hospital who performs what's called selective dorsal rhizotomy, which relieves the tension or stiffness that plagues CP patients.
Lauren is now set to have the surgery January 18th.
"You know, I worry, how's she gonna get through high school carrying books, how's she gonna get through a college campus getting from one class to another, so for us, we feel like this will give her her independence," Lauren's mother, Angela, explained.
"That means this year, it'll be the last year that I'll wish to be normal," Lauren added of her hopes for the surgery.
A lot of physical therapy will follow next month's surgery with Dr. T.S. Park, but Laurel said she is absolutely up for the challenge.