Brooke and Brielle  Photo credit: ML Photography

Brooke and Brielle  Photo credit: ML Photography

Brooke and Brielle are 6 and 7 years old, and they live with the rare disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). 

Their parents, Sarah and Eric, received Brielle’s diagnosis December 29th 2008.  Just days before Eric was deployed to Afghanistan with the Michigan Army National Guard.  A month later, while he was overseas, Sarah had to tell him by phone that Brooke also had been given the same devastating diagnosis.  

Through it all, the Kennedy family has found the strength to live life to the fullest and overcome daunting challenges to assure that Brooke and Brielle lead full, happy lives and take every opportunity to show that they are not defined by the disease.

— Brielle Kennedy


What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?

  • SMA is the number one genetic killer of children under the age of two.
  • It is an inherited disease that destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement, which affects crawling, walking, head and neck control, and even swallowing.
  • The most serious danger in SMA comes from weakness of muscles necessary for breathing.

Brielle was featured in the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation's video - Never Give Up!