Tanneal Cheshire named Mid-Missouri face of MDA Show-Me Strength Telethon

A multi-talented mid-Missouri teen is facing an uphill battle against a disease she will have for the rest of her life.

Tanneal Cheshire is a 15-year-old New Franklin girl who has been battling muscular dystrophy -- a progressive disease without a cure -- for nearly a decade.

She's also been named central Missouri's ambassador for the annual MDA Show of Strength Telethon, but before that, her hometown is working to raise money for her cause. Tanneal has a beautiful voice, is creative and is a driven young woman allowing nothing to hold her back.

Even her muscular dystrophy.

"I think I was six or seven when I was first diagnosed," Tanneal said.

She was diagnosed with a mild case of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 1 muscular dystrophy, a disease causing pain in her legs and sometimes hands.

"When I was younger I had a lot of pain at night if I was too active. I'd have a lot of pain. I'd crawl up into a ball and cry myself to sleep. There was nothing I could take that was strong enough for the pain," Tanneal said.

Now, that is not the case. Tanneal says she is active more than ever, working out to help her fight her disease.

"Now that I have started lifting weights, I don't have to stretch that much anymore," she said. "Ever since I started working I've noticed more flexibility. I guess I'm just weird that way"

Research of the disease is helping doctors come up with some solutions for the fight but that costs money.

The Casey's General Store in New Franklin is hosting a fundraiser for Tanneal Saturday.

Her family says residents in Boonville, New Franklin and Fayette all donated items and baked good for a rummage sale.

Tanneal, who will help out at the benefit Saturday night, doesn't look at MD as a disability and says we are all actually in the same boat.

"I mean everyone's got their disabilities, some people get migraines, some people have a bad knee, but people still talk to them like they are normal people," said Tanneal.

CMT presents daily challenges from the time she wakes up to simply just standing up too long. But being able to help control her disease has allowed Tanneal to be able to take control of her life.

"There is really nothing in the world that can't stop you," she said. "Even if you don't know anyone like yourself. There is really nothing that can hold you back from anything. You can do anything... do anything you want to do! There is really nothing holding you back, except yourself."

On Saturday at the New Franklin Casey's general store, Tenneal, with the help of donations and baked goods from surrounding towns, is raising money to help send a child with muscular dystrophy to camp.

Muscular dystrophy runs in Tanneal's father's side of the family.

The benefit for her is a bake sale and rummage sale at the Casey's General Store in New Franklin from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17.

You'll be getting to know more about Tanneal in the weeks to come as ABC 17 airs this year's MDA Show of Strength Telethon over Labor Day weekend.

We'll also take you to a tune-up event -- the Cumulus Radio Group radiothon benefiting MDA on Aug. 28. More details will be released later about that event.

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