MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A teen with muscular dystrophy is not letting her illness prevent her from serving as an inspiration to others, as she prepares to take part in this year’s Miami Half Marathon, Sunday.
7News cameras captured 17-year-old Peri Finkelstein taking one step, then another, assisted by a walker. Each time her foot hits the pavement, it validates all the work it took to arrive at this place.
But the teen said it has been a difficult journey. “At first, when I first started training, it isn’t easy, but after that, once you get going, get started, everything goes fine,” she said.
Peri has been fighting muscular dystrophy her entire life, but rather than let the illness hold her back, she kept pushing herself to get ahead.
Her mother, Lori Finkelstein said an organization that supports children with serious illnesses played a pivotal role in the development of her daughter’s athletic achievements. “Chai Lifeline is an organization that has helped us out since Peri was born,” she said, “so we decided a long time ago that, when we could and we had the energy, we would pay it forward and try to give back.”
With Lori pushing her most of the way, Peri took 1,437 steps at the 2016 Miami Half Marathon.
This year, her goal is to go even farther. “I thought, if I can do that, I can definitely do a mile,” said Peri.
And she won’t be alone. Not only does Peri have her family by her side, but she’s bringing in the A-list: former New York Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa.
“The fact that he has taken time out of his busy life to embrace Team Peri, and Peri and Chai Lifeline, is extraordinary,” said Lori.
Figueroa’s commitment is almost as extraordinary as a determined teen’s awe-inspiring dedication. “It doesn’t matter what you have or who you are,” said Peri. “It just matters what mark you put on this world, and to never give up.”
She is making her voice heard, even if it’s only one step at a time.
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