ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) – A young girl with a debilitating disease has inspired high school students in southern Utah to give back.
This is the reaction of the student body at Pine View High School as their classmate Liberty is wheeled out: a standing ovation.
“You just make everyone light up when they meet you,” said Brooks Maile, football player and newly-elected student body president.
“For her to deal with all of the issues that she has, with a smile on her face every day, with a positive attitude, with a no-quit attitude,” said Pine View Football Coach Ray Hosner.
When she was 10 years old, Liberty was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia, a disease that damages the nervous system affecting everything from her organs, muscles, and speech.
“It is a life-shortening disease,” said Liberty’s mom Jenny Griggs.
“Try to find ways for her to do thing that other people consider impossible, whether it’s climbing or hiking or going places,” said Liberty’s dad Brian Griggs.
“I just have things I can’t do, and I want to show the world that maybe I can do them, and like inspire others to do the same,” said Liberty.
A part of Liberty’s quest to inspire is to fulfill a bucket list. She wants to go to Australia to see the beach and kangaroos.
“And so the second she told me that, I was like: okay, how are we going to do this?,” said Hosner.
Hosner spoke to the football team.
“He was like: Brooks, you know, we can accomplish this, and I was like: yeah, pretty big, but yeah: we can,” said Maile.
“The guys said hey coach, we can do this.”
“Skywest said yeah, we’ll take care of her flights,” said Maile.
All school year the team has been fundraising and Wednesday, the big surprise.
Liberty was given an all-expense paid trip with her family to see those kangaroos.
“We’re going to send you to Australia.”
[Watch the video above to see Liberty’s reaction to the surprise.]
“It’s just such a heartfelt gift that they put in all this effort all throughout the year, raising money so she could have this incredible opportunity. So yes, I’m stunned,” said Jenny Griggs.
“I’m just so happy and thankful for everything,” said Liberty.
You can follow along on Liberty’s journey on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LibertytoMakeDifference.