Student handles genetic disorder Turner Syndrome through college
At a small wooden table three best friends laugh as they reminisce about grade school.
At this table, there are no differences between the occupants.
At this table, Shepherd junior Kate Caszatt is just Kate: an ordinary college student dealing with the same trials and triumphs as the majority of individuals her age.
Away from this table, away from the laughter and the comfort, Kate is not always viewed as ordinary.
Born with Turner Syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by the partial or complete loss of one of the sex chromosomes, Kate’s physical appearance has drawn curious glances and erroneous assumptions.
Caszatt’s short stature, webbed neck, upturned fingernails, swollen hands and feet, and epicanthic eye folds, which give her eyes a more almond-like shape, are characteristics of Turner Syndrome.
“If anything was going to happen to anybody, something weird, Kate is the one it would happen to,” said Kate’s mother Christine Caszatt.
Though they’ve overcome some difficulties resulting from the condition, Christine said Kate’s always been able to do what she needed to do.
Christine said they raised her no differently than their other two children.
“When people see me I think they’re not sure what my capabilities are,” Caszatt said. “They can’t place their finger on exactly why I’m different.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, Turner Syndrome affects the physical and sexual development of 1 out of every 2,500 women.
Though infertility, heart and kidney defects are common in women with Turner Syndrome, Caszatt believes her physical appearance has been most affected by the condition.
“In some ways (Turner Syndrome) can be debilitating,” Caszatt said. “But as far as limiting what you can and cannot do, I don’t consider it a disability.”
Whether using a stool to reach a book in the library or standing on the balls of her feet to twist the knob on the oven, Caszatt adapts to her environment.
“I am like everyone else. Girls with Turner Syndrome, like myself, are just like anybody else,” Caszatt said. “We can do anything.”
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