Before heading to yet another doctor’s appointment Friday, 17-year-old Shelby Mayo put in work at physical therapy. She’s essentially learning how to walk again.
“In October, I got very sick,” said Mayo, who is a junior at Sam Houston High School in Arlington.
This past fall, she spent more than a month in the hospital. She has a rare condition that tricks her body into feeling pain and causes her legs to give out, which is why she now uses a wheelchair.
Although she has every reason to focus on her own needs, her main concern at the moment is helping others.
“Even when you’re going through your darkest battles, it can’t just be about you,” said Mayo.
Before her stint in the hospital, Mayo was nominated to represent her school in the annual Cinderella Charity Ball. It’s a long-time event in Arlington where 20 girls are selected to raise awareness and as much money as possible for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington.
Mayo’s mom asked if she wanted to pull out of the event so she could recover. Mayo told her she wasn’t willing to do that.
“You’re never too sick or out of the game to help other people,” said Mayo. “And the Boys & Girls Clubs do incredible work.”
She’s been busy calling family and friends, even speaking to a Sam Houston High School alumni group to help the cause.
“You’ve got to find some way to keep yourself distracted and help other people, so that you don’t focus on your own problems,” said Mayo.
Mayo’s principal, Fernando Benevides, tells NBC 5 he’s blown away by her heart and resilience.
“Many of our students face adversity and she’s no different, so she represents us well,” said Benevides. “It’s just incredible.”
Mayo said winning the title of Miss Cinderella isn’t important to her. What she cares most about is the effect the ball will have on the Boys & Girls Clubs long after the clock strikes midnight.
If you’d like to help Mayo or any of the other contestants raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs, you can donate online through April 2.