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15-year-old ready to succeed despite illness (w/video)

Feb. 27, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2014 at 9:01 p.m.

Morgan Jedlicka, 15, and her cousin, Kelsi Darilek, 11,  of Victoria, joke with each other after a full day of rehearsing their speeches, walks and the opening dance for the 2014 Queen Victoria Pageant. Morgan has coached Kelsi the past two years for the Queen Victoria Pageant.

Morgan Jedlicka was 16 days old when she had blood drawn for the first time.

Her neonatal test revealed she had hypothyroidism, which, if left untreated before the age of 3, can severely impact brain development. In her first three years of life, Morgan had her blood drawn more than most people do in their lifetime.

"I cried for a week because everything I read told me she was mentally retarded," Holly Jedlicka, Morgan's mom, says.

Morgan, now 15, is an active member of the Victoria East drill team and was recently crowned Junior Queen Victoria. As long as she takes her medicine every day, she has no symptoms. She only has her blood drawn now twice a year.

Whenever she needs to see a specialist, her family travels to the nearest juvenile endocrinologist in Corpus Christi; the one in Victoria only sees patients 16 and up.

Morgan hopes to attend the University of Texas and study endocrinology so she can come back to Victoria to fill this void and become an endocrinologist specifically for juveniles.

"Twelve years is a long time to go to school, but I'm willing to do it," Morgan said. "I know what it's like to miss school and to miss work just to see a doctor for five minutes."

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