PUEBLO CO. — The Pueblo community is cheering on one of their own. It's for a local high school cheerleader who was recently diagnosed with a rare kidney disease.
On Thursday evening, a fund-raising event will take place for Izzabella Martin, a 15-year-old who was diagnosed with Nephronophthisis Type 1 in July. The disease affects nearly one in a million.
"It was overwhelming. I didn't know if my life would stay regular, and if I would be able to do cheer still," said Izzabella, who mentioned she gets blood work done every two weeks. "But I've done pretty good. I've tried to stay to as normal of a life as I can, and I still enjoy all my hobbies and I still hangout with friends."
Her condition hasn't stopped her from enjoying being a teen. This year, the 10th grader began cheering for Pueblo County High School.
"When we found out about her condition, we knew as a team we wanted do something to support her and her family and what do we do best, but cheer?" said Della Tafoya, Izzabella's cheer coach. "Since she learned about the event, every practice she just comes and tells me 'thank you,' but really it's her we need to thank for just being so positive. She always came to practice with a smile, she still comes to practice with a smile, and she works incredibly hard."
For Izzabella, she has a message for those out there, who may be going through their own health issues.
"If you're going through this condition or any condition, the best thing that has helped me is just talking to people about it. It's okay if you cry or get said, but it has helped me grow as a person," said Martin. "I would like to thank everyone for helping me through this. It's been hard, but it's really nice to have everyone support me."
Doctors say Izzabella needs a kidney transplant within the next six to 12 months. All of the proceeds raised at the event will go toward her and her family to cover medical expenses.
The fund-raising event will take place at the football field at Pueblo County High School. There will be food and a silent auction. Admission is $5.