BUFFALO, NY (WIVB.com) -
Leah Manth is a 13-year-old girl battling Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2), a disease that causes tumors to align along nerves. Nearly a year ago I shared the story of Leah’s relationship with the Canisius women’s basketball team. The team made Leah, an avid basketball player and runner, an honorary teammate. Throughout the season the Griffs raised money for research for NF2.
At the time Leah had facial paralysis, due to nerve damage from surgery. As a result, she could not smile. Leah elected to have surgery to try and correct her smile. The surgery failed. Leah still cannot fully smile. Since her last MRI six months ago tumors on her left and right vestibular nerves have grown. According to recent tests, her vestibular system (balance) has been destroyed. Due to other complications, she may ultimately need to have surgery that will result in deafness.
Despite all the struggles Leah endures, she continues to play sports. Recently Leah, who is only in 8th grade, made her school’s varsity cross-country team. In her first meet of the season, she finished first on her team. Given her current condition doctors are amazed that she is able to excel in sports.
Her father John Manth said, “She will not let anything get her down.”
NF2 has robbed Leah of a normal childhood, the ability to smile and soon possibly her hearing as well but clearly not even this terrible disease can take away Leah’s fighting spirit.