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Anacortes teen stands tall at just 4 foot 8 inches

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She's only 4 feet 8 inches, but Victoria Rains still stands out with her friends and fellow students at Anacortes High School.

Nothing has come easy for the teen, who came to the Rains family as a foster child facing significant physical challenges.

She has Terminal Arthrogryposis, a joint and muscle disorder which effects her movement and posture, and has been the cause of multiple surgeries. In middle school she had both of her feet amputated.

"She was a little rebel. She tried her darndest to make sure nobody wanted her. We kept saying 'yes we do.' I think six months ago she finally figured it out," says her mother Terri.

Despite her challenges, Victoria is thriving.

Her grade point average hovers around 3.5 taking advanced placement classes. The senior has earned awards for academic excellence, belongs to Key Club and the school Honor Society. She tutors other kids, volunteers at churches and food banks, walks for UNICEF at Halloween and is a AWANA assistant.

Teri first met Victoria working as a middle school nurse. At the time, doctors wouldn't perform the needed surgeries because the youngster didn't live in a stable home. So the Rains adopted her, bringing her into a home with other foster children who also had special needs. It changed her life.

"To see all the things that they do like therapy and realizing they can't do the things I could, I wanted to stand up and say 'here I am,'" Victoria says.

"Once she hit middle school, she realized she could do things, there was nothing to stop her," Terri says. "Her strength came from me but I knew she had her own strength so it was more about giving her the strength to believe and she just made it."

Now, Victoria is preparing for college.

"Instead of saying 'I can't' she says 'I can.' 'What can I do, what will work?'"

The teen is considering a career in health care, and plans to also major in Spanish.

Despite all of her challenges, Victoria says she's always grateful for everything in her life. And she plans to continue with all of her service work, especially helping feed the needy.

"I love seeing the people coming in and seeing their smiles, knowing they got fed at least for one night."

KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and Comprehensive Wealth Management are proud to present Victoria with a $1,000 scholarship as the Standout Student of the Month. She's now eligible for a $10,000 grand prize scholarship to be awarded next year.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.