Adelphi student bowls on through 'false brain tumor,' stroke symptoms and vision issues

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Despite numerous medical issues that means she struggles to see the end of the lanes, North Babylon's Skylar McGarrity has impressed as a member of the Adelphi University bowling team.

McGarrity has pseudotumor cerebri, meaning "false brain tumor," because the symptoms of one are there, but the tumor is not. She is blind in one eye and has several eye disorders in her good eye.

Among one of the disorders is Duane syndrome. McGarrity says it's one of her favorites.

"It's actually a pretty cool trick I like to show people," she says. "So when I follow a finger, only one of my eyes moves."

Things got worse for her in eighth grade, when she started suffering from stroke symptoms and she lost feeling on the left side of her body.

"My stomach dropped -- that was probably the scariest day of my life," Skylar's mother says.

At 15 years old, McGarrity had a shunt placed in her brain, which Skylar says required doctors to drill a hole into her brain. A few months ago, she had a new one one put in.

McGarrity says she doesn't want a pity party, despite the "hysterical" pain she can go through. More often than not she can be seen smiling and dancing -- even at a hospital.

"I know a lot of people with my disorder aren't working or going to school, but I didn't want to be that," says McGarrity.

Despite all of those obstacles, McGarrity made the Adelphi bowling team. She has a depth perception issue that causes her issues seeing things from far away.

So how does she bowl? She says it's all in her muscle memory.

"It all just looks like a white blob," says McGarrity. "I can see the arrows and dots, because on the approach they're right in front of me."

Sometimes those blob-like figures can be humans -- she says she walks into things, teammates and other people all of the time.

Through the pain, vision issues and bump-ins, Skylar remains inspired. She says bowling has helped her survive.

"It makes me have goals, no matter how bad the pain or vision is that day," says McGarrity. "I can say I did that, it's the best feeling ever."

 

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