Girl With Odd Brain Disorder Is Homecoming Queen
MichaelAnn Byrne is happy about it, too
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2015 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – A girl who can only communicate with motions and facial expressions said that all she wanted was to have 100 new friends. Now she's been named Homecoming Queen at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, Pa., at the very point in life where her condition may well worsen, PennLive reports. MichaelAnn Byrne, who has an unusual brain disorder called beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration (BPAN), was invited out onto the field in her wheelchair at halftime of a football game on Friday night. "We were all standing on the field," says a girl who was also nominated. "It was the moment we were all waiting for. I was so happy that she got homecoming queen. One of the other girls on the court was crying, she was so happy for MichaelAnn."

The story began when MichaelAnn's fellow seniors saw a video by country music star Brad Paisley. He explained that her wish with the Make a Wish Foundation was to have 100 new friends, and asked them to introduce themselves to MichaelAnn and say something about themselves. Then the students figured they would nominate her for Homecoming Queen. "It's 1 in the morning and MichaelAnn is still up giggling," her mom, Sherry Byrne, wrote on Facebook after Friday night's event. Byrne tells ABC 27 that MichaelAnn is among 50 people worldwide with BPAN, which adds extra iron to the brain and leads to characteristics found in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. "It's not easy to get to know her, so for the kids to rally around her really says a lot about them," she says. "It's amazing."