MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland Valley High School’s homecoming court made their way to the football stadium Friday afternoon to practice for the crowning ceremony.
“I’m really excited,” said Melanie McCormick, one of the girls on court, “but honestly, it doesn’t really matter if I get queen or not because I love all the girls on the court and we’re all pretty good friends.”
One of the girls holds a special place in everyone’s heart.
“Oh, we love MichaelAnn. A lot of the girls in our grade were like, ‘put MichaelAnn on homecoming court’ and we were all for it.” McCormick said.
When the court takes the field, MichaelAnn will be in a wheelchair. She can’t walk because of a condition called beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration (BPAN).
“It’s excessive iron on the brain and there’s around 50 people worldwide who have it,” MichaelAnn’s mother Sherry Byrne said. “It’ll progress where she gets Parkinson’s characteristics and Alzheimer’s characteristics.”
MichaelAnn can’t talk, which makes it hard to make friends.
“You know friendship’s a really big thing in anybody’s life, and MichaelAnn did not have friends until last year,” Byrne said.
“MichaelAnn had Make A Wish Foundation come to our school. And her wish this year was to have 100 new friends,” McCormick said. “So, we’re trying to help MichaelAnn in that endeavor and to get her wish this year.”
That wish is coming true.
“It’s amazing that she’s made so many new friends that so many people voted for her,” Byrne said. “When she got home and we were talking about it, she got all excited, all smiley, and she does a little kick sometimes when she’s excited.”
Her dad is excited to escort her onto the field.
“It’s nothing you would ever expect when you’re the father of a child with this type of disability; that this kind of thing would ever happen,” Greg Byrne said. “To see people accept her and welcome her into the community is more than we could ever hope for.”
“It doesn’t matter if she wins or not. I mean she’s already won. She’s been so blessed,” Sherry Byrne said.