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Kids With Courage: Anna Pampuch

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 3:45 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – KTTC is honored to introduce viewers monthly to some of the youngest among us, facing the unthinkable with bravery and optimism. In our 12th “Kids With Courage” segment, Caitlin Alexander introduces us to 19-year-old Anna Pampuch of Winona.

Anna graduated from Winona Senior High School this past spring. Due to her medical issues and the COVID-19 pandemic, her family had to get extra creative in how they celebrated her.

Anna Pampuch at graduation
Anna Pampuch at graduation(KTTC)

“It was a party!” Anna told KTTC.

“We decided to have a drive-by graduation party,” Anna’s mom, Eva, explained.

The family posted signs from the seven musicals in which Anna took the stage, paired with quotes that best describe her.

“Seussical, a person’s a person no matter how small,” Eva said.

There were treats to-go, as well as sensational showmanship from her two brothers, John and Eric.

There was a music video all about Anna, sung by Eric, and produced by John. It was shown at the party, set to the radio for guests, and set to lights on the house.

“It was really unique, you know, something that you don’t see at every graduation party,” John said.

Anna Pompuch
Anna Pompuch(KTTC)

But their girl deserves it.

Anna has Down Syndrome and has faced many other medical concerns.

People with Down Syndrome often have heart issues.

“She did. She had severe heart defects. Actually had she been born 20 years prior to when she was, she would not have survived,” Eva said.

Anna had heart surgery at four months then again shortly thereafter for damage to her diaphragm.

Since then, she’s had procedures on her eyes and spine. She was also diagnosed with epilepsy.

Her family says she will need another heart surgery in the future.

“Our major concern was that Anna be able to grow up and be happy and healthy and learn things along the way,” Eva said.

Then came COVID-19.

Anna’s dad, Doug, has to be out and about a great deal for work.

To protect his little girl, Doug stayed out of their home for a year and 17 days until they were all vaccinated.

“She had her iPad, so we’d go back and forth on FaceTime,” Doug said.

But this performing Kid With Courage persevered through it all.

As for what’s next, Anna’s parents said she will do two more years at the high school location to work on a special type of training. She will develop more independent living skills and even get some neat work experience.

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