North Alabama high school senior with one hand inspires others

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — Savannah Monroe is a Hazel Green High School senior, a musician, and an artist.

Savannah says she loves to create and not have a set foundation for what she creates. “I like different because I’m also different,” says Savannah. “I’m known as the girl with one hand.”

Savannah was born without fingers on her right hand. “She was born like that,” says Tamara Monroe, Savannah’s mother.  “God made her special for a reason.”

Her parents say ever since she was a baby, Savannah was resilient.

“She used her feet and pulled the blanket toward her, reached over and grabbed the rattle and now she’s playing with it,” says Tamara.

Savannah was always involved when growing up. She took dance lessons, art lessons, music lessons, and even sports.

“I’ve had people cry to me because they thought I was hurting,” says Savannah. “I’ve had people worry about me and come up to me and say they’re sorry to me but I want people to realize that more than anything, it’s kind of a good thing because you learn how to take care of yourself and move around obstacles at an early age.”

Her missing hand wasn’t her only obstacle. Savannah says she also has a heart problem that surfaced in a sixth-grade physical education class. She has Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). The condition, also called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, is defined as an abnormally fast heartbeat.

“I have an extra valve or vein in my heart, that it’ll cheat or go twice as fast,” says Savannah. Donny Monroe, Savannah’s father, says they can do surgery, but if you’re “lucky enough,” you can self-control it, which is what Savannah does. Because her heart rate is higher, she can get more tired more quickly, but that doesn’t stop her.

During the marching season, Savannah plays a right-handed instrument without her right hand. “I put my hand in it and around it and people don’t expect that usually and they don’t even really notice it,” says Savannah.

“I’m not afraid to be who I am, I’m happy with who I am and anyone who is any bit different… which is really everyone because no one is perfect… they need to love themselves for who they are. I have heart problems, I don’t have a hand, but I made it this far… and you can too.”

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