NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches County girl is running and dancing after a birth defect was corrected at the Shrine Hospital in Shreveport.
Nine years later, the Central Heights fourth grader and her family continue to express their gratitude.
Katelyn Rose Grumbles has a smile that shines through.
"I'm being on TV," Katelyn said.
The attention added to what the 9-year-old consistently receives at her grandmother's Appleby Sand Mercantile Cafe.
"Your good looking," a guest said. "How about a $2 bill?"
"Ohh," Katelyn said with an expression of surprise."
Katelyn wasn't the only one to receive a monetary gift this day. The Nacogdoches Shrine Club benefits from an annual fundraiser at her grandmother's café. The event is a way for Katelyn's family to say thank you.
"She was born with her feet 100 percent turned in and 100 percent turned up," said Amber Grumbles, Katelyn's mother.
As a baby, Katelyn had clubfoot, a fairly common birth defect. About half of children with clubfoot have it in both feet, just like Katelyn did.
Doctors performed routine treatment of placing the newborn's feet in casts. As Katelyn grew there were few improvements.
"She couldn't even walk," Amber said. "She was unable to do anything."
The family transferred Katelyn's care to Shriner's Hospital in Shreveport for follow-up surgery. It was a success based on the recovery and this favorite family story.
"I was wearing braces on my feet," Katelyn Grumbles said. "I did hurdles at track, and I won."
Katelyn hasn't slowed down since.
"Nothing stops me cause I can do whatever I want," Katelyn said. "I can do cheer. I can do dance. I can even do karate if I want to."
The spirited child doesn't remember a lot about her experiences as a 4-year-old, but she can recall a "Dr. Joe."
"He always gave me big hugs," Katelyn said.
Now family and friends keep those hugs coming.
"This is my great niece," Katelyn's aunt said with a laugh.
Katelyn's grandmother Angela Bradford sees to it enough food is cooked up to serve hundreds.
"Thank you for coming," Katelyn said.
The luncheon raised thousands of dollars for the Shriners to help children become survivors like Katelyn.
"She's faced many challenges, and today, she has conquered all the things they said she would never be able to do," Angela said.
Katelyn overcame the challenge. Now efforts are underway to help the Shriners survive. The aging Shriners are encouraging younger Master Masons to put their best foot forward as Katelyn did.
"It really makes you feel good to help these kids," said Robert Parrish, the president of the Nacogdoches Shrine Club. "If you love kids, you'll love the Shrine."
For more information on how you can be a Shriner or support their efforts contact your community's Mason organization. In Nacogdoches, the Appleby Sand Mercantile Cafe can introduce you to its frequent Shriner guests. When dances are held, you'll find Katelyn on the dance floor.
Remember, if you have a Survivors story, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.