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The Herald

Rachel Pavone is blind, hearing-impaired and diabetic — but that doesn't change her resolve to be successful in life and play in her high school band.

"One of the things people think about blind people or anyone with a disability is we're potatoes and we don't do anything," the Grand Blanc High School senior told The Flint Journal ( ). "So, the thing that I was taught at a very young age — because my mom does this and so does my dad — is that you have to work really hard to be very successful."

She may be one of about 500 people with Alström syndrome, a rare genetic condition that can cause a series of different symptoms, including progressive vision and hearing loss.

Nevertheless, beyond learning to play the alto saxophone, Pavone has played the timpani, drum pad and synthesizer during concerts and marching band events throughout high school.