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Amazing courage

Janelle
Janelle Radney receiving the Dee Cole Memorial Sportsmanship Award from Jim and Sandy Jirkovsky at the Youth World Show in OKC. Dennis Dean and Steve Taylor serve as bookends. Photo by Larry Williams.

Janelle Radney – Amazing Courage and an Award Winner
By Diane Rice

For most Youth World Show participants, competing in three classes and the speech contest isn’t all that remarkable. But for 13-year-old Janelle Radney of Wood River, Nebraska, they’re extraordinary feats. Just a few weeks ago, Janelle suffered so much pain that she was unable to walk and had to be carried. Doctors told her she’d never walk, let alone ride at the show. But this week, she showed in western pleasure, western equitation and showmanship, and to top it all off, she won the speech contest.

Janelle suffers from NOMID: neonatal-onset multisystemic inflammatory disease, a condition caused by genetic mutation that, left untreated, causes chronic inflammation and rashes, hearing loss, blindness, kidney failure and limited life span. Two years ago, severe leg pain led her to Shriners Hospital for bone scans and later to the Mayo Clinic where a biopsy indicated NOMID.

She received the first of her treatment regimen of daily injections just four weeks ago. Within four hours, the rash she’d had since birth disappeared. Her treatments, though painful, have brought Janelle relief. She rode for the first time just 10 days ago.

In the speech contest on Sunday, June 24, Janelle said her illness had taught her “…not to judge others by what they look like, but by what they are like on the inside. Looking at my horse, ‘Denny,’ you might think that he isn’t worth a penny, but if you could see his heart and what he is all about, you wouldn’t be able to put a price tag on him.”

Although she didn’t place in the top 10, she did win a personal championship. And her tenacity and heart are an inspiration. “Denny taught me to never lose my confidence and to always believe in myself,” she says—“just like I believe in him.”

12 Comments

  1. Kim Trumble Said,

    July 26, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

    We are so proud of Janelle and we are glad to know her personaly she really is a true sportsman. When she couldn’t walk and was in pain she still was there cheering on everyone else and tellling them good job , when they got done riding .
    I’m so happy for her to have received the Sportmanship award at the Youth World Show. Way to go Janelle!!!!
    Kim, Gregg,Jenna and Zach Trumble

  2. Mercedes Ames Said,

    July 26, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

    I am writing from Montana. Tami(Janell’s mother) and my husband are cousins. Janell’s grandmother keeps me uptodate on Janell’s progress. She has suffered for such a long time, that this award will be a highlight of her year. Thank you.

    Does your club know anything about Katie Holland from Belgrade Montana. She competed with the Bozeman Club. She lost her leg at the hip working at the horse corrals. She is determined to ride again.

  3. Steve Said,

    July 27, 2007 @ 7:37 am

    I’m not sure if others in the office know about Katie, but we’d certainly be glad to get more information. Thanks.

  4. Mr. McKinney Said,

    July 27, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

    Great job Janelle! Keep up the tough battle and determination! See you mid August…yeah, school is around the corner 🙂

    Way to go!

    Mr. McKinney
    Wood River Rural HS/MS
    308.583.2249

  5. Becky Ames Said,

    July 28, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

    As Janelle’s cousin, I have heard only bits and pieces of the suffering this disease has caused her. She has proven that her heart was greater than her suffering as she lived with this everyday. I stand in awe of this little girl and her family. Congratulations.

  6. Dana Vettel Said,

    July 30, 2007 @ 7:18 am

    Congratulations Janelle!! We are so proud of you!!!

  7. Wendy Brandt Said,

    July 30, 2007 @ 10:28 am

    You are truly an inspiration to us all! How brave you are, how lucky you are to have your wonderful horse, and how lucky he is to have you! God Bless and many more wonderful memories to you both!

  8. Mrs. Kistler Said,

    July 30, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

    Janelle,
    Congratulations on your triumphs! Enjoy the rest of the summer and I look forward to sharing all your stories in the fall. Be sure to bring pictures if possible.

    Glad to see that the summer went well for you.

    See you soon and congratulations again!

  9. Mrs. Kohlhof Said,

    August 1, 2007 @ 10:57 am

    Dear Janelle,

    I am soooo proud of you. You know I am a horse lover too and have learned from my horses as well. I agree with what you said in your speech that what’s inside is most important. Thank you for sharing your life and being an inspiration.

    Mrs. Kohlhof

  10. Dwight & Cheri Krebs Said,

    August 4, 2007 @ 12:14 am

    Dear Janelle,

    We are very proud to know you and you have always been special! Your speech, or I should say the main theme of “What is inside,” of a person, a horse, a dog or any living thing is so true. At your young age you have realized something that we all should listen too….it is, what is inside that counts! And by golly little gal, what is inside of you will give you the VICTORY! We will all be cheering for you!

    With highest regards,

    Cheri and Dwight Krebs

  11. Mrs. Bruce Said,

    August 9, 2007 @ 9:29 am

    Janelle,
    From the day I met you I could tell you were a trooper! Congratulations, you are a very special girl. See you soon!

  12. mackenzie main Said,

    October 26, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS jANELLE! I AM SO PROUD TO NO THAT I SHOW WITH YOU. YOU ARE AMAZING NOT MANY KIDS YOUR AGE WOULD WANT TO TRAVEL ALL THE WAY TO SOUIX FALLS JUST TO CHEER THEIR SISTERS ON WITH THE PAIN YOU WERE IN. YOU WERE SO BRAVE AND I AM SO GLAD TO SEE THAT YOU MADE A FULL RECOVERY AND ALREADY BACK IN THE ARENA. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

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