Not too long ago, I spoke with a 6th grade class about nutrition. When the school bell rang and students filed out of the room, one student stayed behind. “Hi!” I cheerfully greeted her when she walked toward me.
What she said next floored me.
She let me know that her bones are too brittle to play sports due to her lactose intolerance. She shared with me that she loves volleyball and all the sports her classmates pursue but that her doctor says her risk of fractured and broken bones are too great to play. This student asked if I could suggest ways to strengthen her bones outside of milk consumption. Her lactose intolerance didn’t just make her say “no thanks” to ice cream; it completely rerouted her dreams.
Can you imagine being 11-years-old and having to think about bone health? Can you imagine how it must feel to sit on the sidelines and watch your friends play sports and make the memories that you can’t?
This student feels like her body turned on her, and yet, she smiles, asks me for advice, and faces the unfair world with positivity. It is her spirit of optimism and her search for knowledge about bone health that inspired this piece.