While many of her childhood memories are unpleasant — frequent hospitalizations and being told not to cry even though she was in pain — Cleo Ann Eliason says she gained much of her self-worth as a child at church. "It was my church where, as a child, I got involved and directed a junior choir and taught Sunday school. My church purchased my first folding wheelchair," she recalls.
Eliason, a member of McFarland [Wis.] Lutheran Church, was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a congenital physical disability more commonly known as brittle bone disease. Her first hospital visit came at 6 weeks, when a bone fracture was discovered. Since then, she has had more than 25 fractures.
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