A sophomore at Bonners Ferry High School, Emmaline Pinkerton has endured more than many do in a lifetime. But in spite of her health challenges, she has persevered and remains to have a positive attitude.
“A life lesson I have learned is the simple mindset of positivity,” said Emmaline. “Positivity toward others, a concept, a goal or situation is the start to success, because success isn’t always winning. Success is when you put everything you possess into everything you can, with everyone you have, and enjoy every minute of it.”
In December of 2016 and January of 2017, Emmaline caught both strains of the flu virus, which ended up attacking her immune system, targeting her digestive system and left her weak. Her life has been consumed with doctor visits, hospitalizations and medication.
But Emmaline has persisted as is evidenced by the fact that just a few days after she was discharged from one of her hospital stays, she participated in track districts and placed first, second and third in her three events.
She was ultimately diagnosed with gastroparesis (paralysis of the stomach), which causes her stomach to be slow to empty. She had a feeding tube placed, and having just enough nutrients in her system, she was able to unplug her tube from her feeding bag and participate in track last spring.
Over the years, Emmaline has participated in many sports such as volleyball, soccer and track but said it is basketball that she enjoys the most.
In addition to persevering in athletics, Emmaline takes pride in her academics as well. “My classes consist of honors classes, and my grades stay on the honor roll,” she said.
Although she still has time to decide on her post-high school plans, Emmaline would like to play basketball at the collegiate level and said her career interests include teaching, coaching or a position in the medical field.
“My teachers and coaches have been people I look up to due to my love for sports and care for my education,” said Emmaline. “As a child that has struggled with health challenges, I have been exposed to the importance of those who work in the medical field and the impact doctors and nurses have on those who grow ill or injured. Following through with one of these careers would allow me to give back what I have received and inspire others while enjoying what I am doing.”
Now, as her health continues to improve, Emmaline looks forward to getting back onto the basketball court with her teammates.
“After a visit to Seattle Children’s (Hospital), where they performed a testing procedure and applied a new medication expanding the stomach, my eating has finally progressed. Holding down thin liquid to now soft solids, I only apply an NG (nasogastric) tube that goes to my stomach at night,” said Emmaline. “Although my gastroparesis still affects my life in a drastic way, sports will always play an even bigger role. With an immense amount of support and continued increase and health gain, I see this year of athletics being a good one!”