Anikia’s Challenge

Anikia is one of  The Inventor’s best friends. They’ve known each other since diapers. These girls don’t know life without their friendship.

Watching them together warms my heart. They understand each other and love one another for who they are–expecting nothing more or less. A sign of true friendship.



Anikia has 5 brothers, 2 older and 3 younger. She is the only girl surrounded by boys and when she comes over to my all girl house her eyes light up. They put on put on make-up, dress up clothes,  play princess, with dolls, or find something else girly to do.

Anikia is not your normal child though. She came with her own unique set of challenges. The thing that impresses me is that she doesn’t let anything slow her down. She has a pure heart, full of love and joy.

Challenge #1: Speech

Anikia is a very smart girl but her brain can’t make her mouth work. It is a birth defect known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech. It has got to be extremely frustrating to know what you want to say and be able to think it but not get it out. Through therapy, she has learned how to talk and communicate but you can tell it is still a struggle.

There are times when I’m talking to her and I cannot understand what she is saying. I see that frustration cross her face. Instead of giving up, she finds a new way to tell me.

Once she was over and wanted to get out some princess coloring sheets. Instead of giving up, she got The Inventor’s Cinderella pillowcase, brought it to me on the other side of the house and showed it to me. Other times the girls have translated for me. She always figures out a way to communicate what she needs.

Through therapy, she is improving leaps and bounds. I have no doubt that some day she’ll be able to walk in a room and talk as if nothing was wrong, but that is going to take lots of hard work and dedication.

Challenge #2: Heart

That’s not all that Anikia has to overcome. She also has a heart problem. When she was developing in the womb, the valve attached to her main artery became deformed. Because of this and a unique congenital genetic duplication, she develops tissue build up in that valve. Without proper blood circulation she grows tired and weak. The best treatment is to do surgery and remove the build up.

This past summer Anikia had her 3rd open heart surgery in 7 years. Her mom tells me that Anikia will need surgery again in 5-7 years. It is a cycle she’ll repeat her entire life.

Surgery challenges her body, but she doesn't stay down for long.

2 days after open heart surgery.

But Anikia doesn’t let her heart slow her down either. Before her last surgery we were at a fundraising walk for Apraxia. Anikia was walking with The Inventor and I. I could tell she was wearing out. Every now and then she grabbed her chest and said, “my heart hurt”. I asked if she needed to rest and she would shake her head, give me a resounding no and continue on.

Eventually, it got to be too much and she decided she needed a break. We stopped for a whole 15 seconds before she decided she was fine again and took off running. I could tell it was a struggle but she didn’t want to let a little old heart problem get in her way of having fun.

I know the world has stacked problems against Anikia. I know that she will battle health for the rest of her life. But watching her grow up, I don’t think she’ll have any problems. If she can’t do it, she’ll find a work around.

Anikia is a shining example of Living in Green Grass. She takes what she has and deals with it, not letting it get in the way of  living life how she wants.

If you want to help Anikia and others like her with Apraxia, there is an annual fundraising walk. There are walks all over the nation throughout the summer. You can find out more information or donate to the cause here.


I’m always looking for people who live in Green Grass–being content with life, no matter the circumstances. Anikia is a brave child who overcomes so much and doesn’t use her challenges as an excuse. If you know of someone who deserves a Green Grass Award,  let me know using the contact form under the Green Grass Awards tab or by clicking here.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karma Wagner
    Apr 24, 2014 @ 14:05:16

    Anikia is an inspiration to many, and will continue to be such. Beautifully written about a beautiful girl!



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