Overcoming Adversity: Angie Chavez

Diego Martinez, Copy Editor

Dealing with personal adversity can be a strain on many, whether it be a social issue, a family matter, a psychological issue, or even a medical complication. Students at Downey High are no exception to such dilemmas, especially junior Angie Chavez, who has to face rare and fatal medical conditions. She is an inspiration and glimmer of hope for those in similar situations, and a reinforcing figure to those who face difficult situations.


Diagnosed with MALS (Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome), POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), and MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome), Chavez still lives life to the fullest with her positive outlook on life. President of the Thespian Society and member of the Drama Club productions at school, Chavez involves herself in school life even when it is hard for her to do so, going out of her way to succeed rather than giving up.


Chavez’ disorders have given her a difficult time with completing everyday tasks. Her MALS condition restricted her blood flow to her digestive system and made it difficult to eat solids for years. Her aortic repair surgery helped with her rare disorder, but Chavez explains that the biggest difficulty she still has is her insufficient energy for common activities.


“I get tired very easily. I tell my friends and family that I’m a 16 year old in an elderly lady’s body because I get tired so quickly, getting in the way of everyday activity,” Chavez stated. “I’m constantly having to do remind myself that it’s okay, I can try again another day and I try to keep as positive as possible when I do normal tasks, reminding myself that I’ve come a long way.”


While her three conditions can restrict her from doing ordinary tasks, she makes sure that she stays busy, regardless of the struggle ahead. Chavez talks about her experience and the positive influence the Thespian Society and Drama Club have had on her.


“Honestly, being part of drama keeps my mind occupied to my medical life that I go home to everyday,” Chavez stated. “Being president of the Thespian Society and Drama Club keeps me busy as well and it’s stressful at times, but it’s a good stress.”


Surpassing obstacles is not a one-person fight for Chavez, as her family motivates her every step of the way. Her mother has been a motivation and lifelong friend to her ever since childhood, as she alone has helped her succeed and overcome obstacles throughout life.


“My mom is definitely a role model for me. She’s been a single mother since I was born and she’s made sure that I’ve had a home, food, and a great education,” Chavez stated. “She’s taken up two jobs to pay for my medical insurance and she’s given me everything I needed, as well as being my best friend.”


Chavez’ family is not her only inspiration and motivation, as kids her age who have the same disorder make her feel less alone and give her hope. She comforts children and teenagers that go through their MALS surgery, making sure they do not stress about the situation more than they need to.


“My family and other kids my age, as well as younger ones who have the same syndromes as me really motivate me,” Chavez stated. “I talk to the incoming teens who are preparing for their MALS surgery and help them feel comfortable and confident before going ‘under the knife.’”


Chavez keeps herself positive and happy, even with her difficult circumstances. She reflects the nature and spirit one should have when facing such dilemmas as she pertains an enthusiastic outlook on life. Despite enduring tough and burdensome situations, Angie remains a role model for many in similar struggles, exemplifying how everyone can overcome adversity.