Bullying is a huge problem and Gabrielle Ford took on this problem with full force. While on her journey, she hit a few rocks and fell, but she always got back up.
Gabrielle was diagnosed with Friedreich ataxia when she was 13. Friedreich ataxia is a disease that affects the central nervous system. It makes it very hard to walk and it may affect the heart. Gabrielle’s passion was dance, she knew jazz, tap, and ballet. Imagine, not being able to do the one thing that you love the most? She went through a hard time all throughout her life but especially in 8th grade; she was bullied constantly because of her disease. Boys would tease her and say “You talk like you’re drunk! You really ought to lay off the booze, Gabe!” (Ford and Thomson 31). She slurred her words because of the disease. She would also sometimes trip and kids would push her and kick her heels. She could have given up, she could have let the kids get to her but instead, she held her head high and brushed it off.
A few years after graduating high school, she adopted a coonhound named Izzy. Later, it was discovered that Izzy had a liver shunt and muscle problems. Gabrielle did everything in her power to get Izzy’s treatment, and after all her and her family’s hard work, they did! The story reached “Animal Planet” and not long after that, Gabrielle and Izzy had their own episode on “Animal Planet!”
Gabrielle and Izzy went to speak to schools about bullying all around the world! Gabrielle’s story is so inspiring. It speaks to all kids and tells them that you shouldn’t let what everyone thinks and says affect you. I hope you read this book and help spread Gabrielle and Izzy’s message to others!
Gabe and Izzy: Standing up for America’s Bullied by Gabrielle Ford and Sarah Thomson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.