GREENFIELD — When Erin Jeffries steps on stage, everything else fades from her mind.
The adrenaline takes over, and for the next few minutes, the 16-year-old can forget there is anything that sets her apart from the group of dancers, their feet striking the floor in well-rehearsed synchronicity.
She might feel fatigued afterward, and if there’s much walking to be done, she’ll probably have to use her wheelchair.
But nothing can take away those few precious minutes. And no amount of pain can make her regret them.
Erin was diagnosed at birth with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes vein malformations and abnormal overgrowth of the bone and soft tissue.
For Erin, the disease is most noticeable in her left leg, which is significantly larger than her right and the cause of constant pain.
The Greenfield teen has undergone multiple surgeries, but they have done little to keep her symptoms at bay. She walks with a limp and tires easily, depending on a wheelchair whenever long distances are involved.
At a recent trip to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, doctors confirmed something the teen has always feared – the only permanent solution for pain management might be to amputate.
But for the girl who has been clogging since she was 5 years old, that’s no solution at all.
“I was like, ‘No, not happening,’” she said. “‘Not happening yet.’”