Misty Diaz was born with Myelomeningocele which is a form of Spina Bifida which affects the spinal canal at birth.
She was born with a severe form of the condition as her spine was completely exposed and some of her organs were on the outside of her body.
Watch to learn more of her inspiring story below.
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Video credit: Rumble
Despite many difficulties, the 34-year-old didn’t give up on life and made a name for herself in both modeling and adaptive fitness. She is now helping others with similar conditions.
Misty told Barcroft TV: “Fitness allows me to feel like everyone else. No one is judging anyone in the fitness community, and everyone is encouraging one another.”
“I didn’t meet anybody who had Spina Bifida until I was in my twenties. You don’t see anybody who looks similar to you so you’re thinking, what did I do?”
Misty’s disability made her life difficult, however, her parents gave her a normal childhood.
“It affected me a lot because I didn’t know how to handle people who were bullying me.’’
When Misty underwent 28th operation, her life took a worse turn as there were complications which made her taking high doses of painkillers.
“I was on so much morphine and everything was just like a cloud – I was in a haze. I was watching things slip away from my life.”
She lost almost everything including her dog. After seeing a Ronald McDonald 5K charity walk advertised on a billboard, Misty got into fitness.
She explained: “Slowly but surely I started seeing the world differently.”
Misty took a 5k run in a purple tutu and bright red lipstick after completing the 5K walk. She has completed over 250 races worldwide and she even got her “ride or die” dog back.
She joined Instagram and realized she should educate and help others using this platform.
“I thought I’m beautiful, they are beautiful – let’s add the two together and create the hashtag.” It just goes to show you that you can take anything and make the slightest adjustment and change the world.”
Bryce Thygerson, 21, is the woman who is grateful for this as she was diagnosed with Spina Bifida at birth but her condition started to worsen when she went into teenage years.
Bryce said: “I was totally independent walking on my own with a little bit of a limp, and then when I had surgery in 2013, I ended up with a spinal headache and I have used crutches ever since.”
“I met Misty after I had the bad surgery, she gave me the confidence to have crutches because I thought my life was over at that point. She told me to get really cute crutches, they were hot pink!”
Describing Misty as “awesome”, Bryce credits her for giving her “more opportunities to do more outgoing things.”
“I love seeing Misty – just to know you have somebody there and that you do have a support system,” Bryce said.
For Misty, being able to help people like Bryce is why she created the #SpinaBeautiful movement, to begin with.
She said: “It’s a blessing to be able to show people you can adapt, and you can push through.”
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