Audrey Winkelsas is a junior at the University of Miami. She was just 7 months old when she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy. She studies biochemistry and helps conduct research for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. She hopes one day to find a cure for her condition. Until then, Winkelsas' condition requires 24-hour care.
For most students, turning 21 is a joyous occasion. It wasn't for Audrey Winkelsas.
Originally from Apopka, a suburb outside of Orlando, Winkelsas received 24-hour attendant care for the past two and a half years while she studied at UM. However, as of her 21st birthday on October 16, 2013, Winkelsas' Medicaid care was taken from her since she is no longer considered a child or young adult. After appealing, Winkelsas was granted only three one-hour visits per day (none of which can be consecutive). She wishes her condition required only such minimal aid, but since turning 21, Winkelsas' mother, Keely Winkelsas, has had to leave her work behind to provide the care her daughter desperately needs to receive an education.