Leslie C. Smith was just 25 years old when the diagnosis of Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy struck. In addition to grappling with her own fate, genetics had served her family a crushing blow as her brother was receiving the same news, a mere year after their father had been diagnosed as well. The family was rocked to its core.
Throughout the years that followed, Leslie experienced a number of challenges that might have seemed insurmountable. However, she is an athlete at heart—a tennis star with a grip on life, even when her grip on the racket was challenged.
With unique insight, candor, and encouragement, Leslie recounts a life lived well and with intention, even with the odds stacked against her. She had one goal to begin it all.
"I needed to learn to accept myself and the diagnosis I had been given. I was on a personal journey to find peace, accept my new life and assimilate into a life that I wanted to live. I had heard the restrictions that would be part of my life and now I needed to find the flip side of the limitations."
Rare disease? Life-changing diagnosis? Coldly delivered expected outcomes from a group of white coats or a late-night internet search? What's on paper does not define you. Leslie had other plans—and you can make ours too. Game. Set. Match.
About the Author
Leslie Crocker Smith grew up in two very caring communities: Middlebury, Vermont and Briar Neck, a small enclave on the coast in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Very active and loving competition, Leslie was a natural at sports: horseback riding, playing field hockey, tennis, alpine skiing and figure skating. She competed at Lake Placid in figure skating and had a solo at the college winter carnival each year.
In 2000 at age 25, Leslie was diagnosed with Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy (MMD), an inherited neuro-muscular disease that is progressive and has no cure. This diagnosis caused the end of life as she knew it—and threatened to take her identity.
Through sheer determination Leslie was able to attend and complete graduate school at the University of Vermont, finding her identity as a social worker, a wheelchair tennis player and a writer. Now 22 years after diagnosis, she continues to inspire others through her determination, her writing and competition in tournaments.