I would like to tell you about my friend Abbey Umali. She is 10 years old. There are six members in her family, including two cats and one bunny. Abbey is in fifth grade adn she loves to swim and read. Abbey and I have known each other for 10 years--our mothers had us just days apart! We even used to go to school together!

There is something else about Abbey that makes her special: she is the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) National Goodwill Ambassador. Abbey has a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMTIE). This causes muscle weakness and lack of coordination and balance.

Abbey wears braces to support her legs for walking. This hasn't stopped her from doing whatever she thinks she can do. As the National Goodwill Ambassador (NGA) she gets to travel and thank sponsors for donating money to find a cure for muscular dystropy. You might have seen Abbey on TV with Jerry Lewis during the MDA Telethon. She said that Jerry Lewis was very funny and nice, but you never knew what he was going to say next.

In December, Abbey will complete her second year as NGA for the MDA. She has been asked to serve for one more year. This is a very special honor.

When I asked her what she most likes about this job, she said, "Meeting new people and traveling," and added, "It's the best job in the world!"

I'm very proud of my friend Abbey. She is a very sweet person and she always has a smile on her face, though it's hard for her sometimes. And now you can see why I call her "Awesome Abbey."

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Annelise Mace writes from Loma Linda, California.