Parents often contact us with questions about what their child will be able to do if they have Poland Syndrome. Our answer is always simply “anything” today we share a video from a young gymnast who has Poland Syndrome showing us everything is possible.
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Nothing can slow down one kindergartner at Amistad Elementary, not even an extremely rare birth defect called Poland syndrome. Yaneece Sanchez has plowed through three levels of gymnastics in three short months, even with her physical disability.
Yaneece is only five years old, and she just started gymnastics three months ago. Her list of tricks she can already do is quite extensive.
“Backhand springs and handstands, walking handstands, bridge,” she said.
It’s impressive for a kindergartner. But it’s even more impressive because Yaneece was born with an extremely rare birth defect known as Poland syndrome.
“They just brought her in to me, and they noticed her hand right away because it was very noticeable, and they noticed it and brought her in and told me that something was wrong but they didn’t know what it was,” said Yaneece’s mom, Christina Baca.
Yaneece was born without a right breast muscle. Her right arm is thinner and shorter than the left, and her hand is webbed with no bones in her fingers.
“I was just going to treat her the same, not treat her any different, not show her that she was different, not make it so noticeable to her and everybody else,” said Baca.
Yaneece’s mom says the Amistad kindergartner had so much extra energy, she had to get her into gymnastics. In just three months, Yaneece has jumped from Level 1 to a competitive Level 3 team. Her instructors are shocked by her talent.
“They like to show her off,” said Baca.
Yaneece says her disability makes the sport tough, but she is so determined.
Her friends are supportive. We asked her what they think about it.
“They said it was so little and it was cool,” said Yaneece.
“She’s the best, and so she doesn’t let anything affect her,” said Baca.
Yaneece’s mom says she hopes her hard work gets her to the Olympics some day.
“Not the special Olympics, but the regular Olympics. I hope that she can go out there and just prove to everybody that just because they have a difference in them, physically, shouldn’t let anything stop them.”