MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO. - The strongest people don't always have the biggest muscles.
Instead of biceps, May Reynoso is better known for the size of her heart. After all, she's had to endure physical therapy most of her young life.
"When she first came to Ranken-Jordan she had just had a surgery. Pretty much bed bound," explained Lauri Tanner, President and CEO of Ranken-Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in Maryland Heights.
May has come a long way on her journey, a journey that began more than 2,000 miles away.
She was born in Guatemala and adopted by a local couple, Tom and Pamela Reynoso, who already had three biological sons.
"We just had a feeling that we had extra love to share and we wanted to do that," said Pamela Reynoso .
But just before the papers were signed, they were informed that May had serious health issues including cerebral palsy. That might have given some prospective parents pause but not the Reynosos'
"And the doctor had tears in his eyes and he said you are angels, look at me I'm tearing up. You are angels and he walked away," Pamela recalled.
May's first bed in the United States was a hospital bed. She went through several surgeries including one to remove a bone from her leg and yet her new mom describes her this way.
"A fighter. She doesn't give up."
Her home away from home has been Ranken-Jordan. The non-profit provides intensive transitional care and continuing support for children with complex medical conditions.
"The people here are so amazing, "Pamela said. "You walk in this building and there is always a smile on everyone's face."
Then we asked May.
"Do you remember how old you were when you first started coming here?" "Three," she said.
That's 11 years, one day at a time and one step at a time. 2,000 miles is nothing compared to the distance she's traveled.
"Well, I think what we try to do here at Ranken-Jordan is expose children to as many different things as possible. Sometimes, it's cooking, sometimes it's dance. Sometimes it's going to a sporting event. Sometimes it's participating in a sporting event," said Tanner.
May's favorite number now, is four. Make that 'FORE'!
Golf Pro Kevin Corn comes to Ranken-Jordan once a month and this past summer, out on the course, he quickly learned that May has a Tiger in her.
"The first time she tried it was just like every other kid, a little hesitant and tentative. Now she tells you that golf is her favorite sport," he told us.
"She encouraged her parents to start playing. She encouraged them to start playing. And it's what she found here that she thought was fun," added Tanner.
We asked May if she had a favorite golf club and she said "a wedge." Because she likes to get it close to the hole.
Life will always be a challenge for May, but like her parents, she's up to it.
"I could not see my life without her," said Pamela.
With loving parents and dedicated doctors, nurses, and therapists, May Reynoso is one young girl who knows even as she gets more independent, she will never walk alone.
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