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Mason City, IA – Karen Nettleton is a fighter.
“I’ve overcome the doctor saying that I wouldn’t amount to anything with getting a job, keeping a job, and walking,” said Karen.
She’s lived with Spina Bifida her entire life.
It’s a birth defect that means her spinal cord is not fully developed.
Karen says if it wasn’t for her family, life would be a lot tougher.
“They’re the reason I am the way I am, because I was trying to do a pity party thing and that was not allowed in my house,” said Karen.
That attitude still stays with her today.
Karen is going beyond what many thought she’d be able to.
You can find her cruising through the cosmetic section of Walmart, where she’s worked for more than 20 years.
And during that time, she’s met people that she now calls her friends.
“Whenever I come here or needing something I’m always seeking out to see if Karen’s working and she’s always has a smile on her face and is very helpful,” said Lisa Pleggenkule Grummer.
Lisa is just one of many who are now trying to help her win a van in a national contest, in honor of Mobility Awareness Month.
“Well she’s dependent on the public transportation her entire life its time for her to be more independent, its time,” said Pleggenkuhle Grummer.
So far she has more than 1,500 votes.
Karen says the whole things are overwhelming.
“You know you live in your own little world and you don’t think about other people who you can make, every time you meet somebody you actually make a contact with them and it makes an impression and you forget that’s what happens,” said Karen.
But what Karen really wants people to remember, is it’s all about overcoming your own personal challenges.
“I think that you’re only restricted as much as you want to be. There are obviously limitations that I can’t obviously physically do, like I can’t run, I can’t do things that are physical but you have to look at what you can do and focus on that,” said Karen.