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member photos courtesy of member Jessi Dockrey before joining TOPS Takes Flight TOPS Teen By N. Marie Dries It's also a fact of life—sometimes our greatest struggles help us find the strength to face the world. Jessi Dockrey of Oklahoma knows a thing or two about such things. She was born with a congenital defect that affected her mouth and gums; the roots 50 HEALTHY & ACTIVE 2014 of her baby teeth were short, shallow and fragile, and there were almost no adult teeth waiting to replace them. The condition meant that, for her first 15 years, Jessi could not eat normally. "I ate mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese with lunch Jessi Dockrey Lost 30 lb. With TOPS meat cut up in it," she recalls. "Those were the only foods I knew of that would not hurt my teeth." The heavy, starchy diet took a toll; by the time she reached puberty, Jessi carried more than 100 excess pounds on her 5ʹ8ʺ frame. Change came during the fall julian addington-barker/getty images/hemera/Thinkstock (monarch butterfly) It's a scientific fact—butterflies must push through the tough outer casing of their chrysalis to reach the world outside, and that struggle gives them strength to survive.

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