DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Her dream has always been to dance but 21-year-old Whitney Mitchell, whose arms and legs were amputated, knows it will take one-step at a time.
That first step came just weeks ago when for the first time she walked with prosthetic legs.
“I really want to inspire people,” said Mitchell. “I want to tell them no matter what circumstances you can pull through and keep going.”
Sunday night at the Chocolate Secrets & Wine Gardens in Dallas, they toasted Mitchell to raise money to help with her medical bills.
Two-and-a-half years ago, she went to the hospital with what she initially thought was just the flu.
However, Mitchell soon learned she had a life-threatening condition known as sepsis, and her condition had progressed to a point where she was given a 12-percent chance to surviving a week.
Doctors told Mitchell when her body was trying to fight off a bacterial infection; the chemicals released in the bloodstream caused a dangerous level of inflammation throughout her body.
The aspiring dancer, who was majoring at Richland College in performing arts at the time, would have to have her arms and legs amputated.
Her mother, Patricia Kirven, said she remembers how hard it was to give the doctors the okay to do the operation.
“It was tough,” she said. “I’m her mother and I watched her take her first and I remember counting her fingers and toes and so for her to lose all of that is hard. It was hard to swallow.”
Mitchell said she still catches herself sometimes looking at old pictures of herself but her focus now is on her future.
She plans to return to college in the fall and this time she plans on majoring in fashion.
Mitchell said she realizes she may never be the professional dancer she once dreamed of becoming but she said she will dance again.
“It may not be the way everyone thinks dance should be but I think I can dance again.”
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