PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (CBS) — An inspiring New Jersey high school student is making her triumphant return to the wrestling mat Wednesday night after battling a rare disease.
Fun-loving and competitive are two adjectives that jump out when you meet Pennsauken senior Amanda Lezcano. Among the four-sport athlete’s accomplishments is helping to pioneer the school’s all-girl wrestling team.READ MORE: Trial Resumes In Harrisburg Tuesday That Could Impact How Pennsylvania Funds Public Schools
“I like it. It’s very competitive, you gotta be strong,” she said.
Amanda turned a lot of heads pursuing wrestling during her junior year, but her real strength was yet to be uncovered.
Last July, she thought she had a lingering cold when her body suddenly went haywire.
“July 4, I woke up and my legs were tingling and I wasn’t able to stand or walk,” Amanda said.
Her parents took her to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she was diagnosed with a rare disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. It attacked her nervous system and left her paralyzed.
“I was left not being able to walk, speak, eat,” Amanda said.
Amanda didn’t know if she’d ever have a normal life again, let alone play sports.READ MORE: Teen Victim Speaks Out For First Time Following Racially Motivated Attack Aboard SEPTA Train
“I had a feeding tube. It would give me stomach aches,” she said.
But Amanda was determined to bounce back.
After three months of recovering and rehabbing in the hospital, she and Pennsauken athletic trainer Thomas Connors got to work.
“When she came off the ventilator you could see the progress, almost daily progress,” Connors said.
On Wednesday night, Amanda will reach a major milestone in her recovery.
“Tonight, I’m going to be wrestling for the very first time in a year,” she said.
She admits without the full use of her arms and legs she’s nervous. But when it comes to overcoming obstacles, Amanda is a mountain mover.
“Like yeah, I might have a crutch and braces but I’m the same as everyone else so don’t look at me differently,” she said.MORE NEWS: Police Searching For Suspect In Fatal Thanksgiving Day Hit-And-Run In Cherry Hill
“She’s an incredible, incredible person — one of the most courageous people I ever met,” Connors said.