Laila Kenney, Reporter

As you walk through the halls of UHS, you can spot my favorite freshman, Alaina Kenney. Whether you’re one of her many friends, an acquaintance in a class, or just happen to see her around from time to time, she will always be able to put a smile on your face.

While she’s only a freshman, she sure has been through a lot. In 2021, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is a type of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), which causes inflammation in the digestive tract. “My Crohn’s is really the most interesting part about me.” Anytime someone needs a “fun fact”, Alaina will always reply with “I have Crohn’s.”

Alaina is also a competitive dancer, and dance has really helped her since being diagnosed. She always says “my stomach doesn’t hurt when I’m dancing…I forget about it.” Dance is one of the few things that hasn’t changed for Alaina in the past 2 years. Being able to be around her friends doing what she loves really helps her on the days where she’s in more pain. That and her medication, which is very important.

In April of 2022, Alaina had to undergo her first big stomach surgery. Because of the timing and urgency of the surgery, she had to miss one of our dance competitions. The hardest part of her surgery was “the recovery. I couldn’t walk, it was hard not being able to dance” said Alaina. Although she was in a hospital bed, she was still our team’s biggest supporter. She cheered us on from afar and was able to watch every dance on a livestream. Luckily, a few months after surgery, she was able to get right back to dancing and she’s been doing the same ever since.

Alaina still has over 3 years of high school left, but she already is thinking about what’s next for her. She’s expressed interest in being a pediatric nurse. She says, “I want to help people the way I was helped.”