"I would say there is a testimony to my name because somebody in my condition is not supposed to be here," 19-year-old Miracle Buckley says.
Buckley was born with sacral agenesis, a rare condition that causes the spine to deform while the baby is still in the mother's womb. She was born missing five vertebrae from her back and three rows of ribs, and doctors did not know what was wrong. They did not expect her to live, so they offered her the only advice they could give: Live every day like it is your last.
But Buckley did not die. Instead, when she was only seven, doctors decided to amputate her legs.
"It is a memory that has stayed with me," Buckley says. "It was a really dramatic and intense point in my life because I was not sure that I would live through the surgery; it never had been performed before."
After the surgery she began to use a wheelchair. Her parents, however, were determined to treat her just like any other child. Surprisingly, they did not have to worry; their daughter was tougher than they thought.
"It did not faze me, because technically I am walkingjust on my hands," she says.
Buckley says that by the time she was 13 or 14, she stopped listening to what the doctors said.
"God still has me here because he has something that he wants me to do, and it's not something that the doctors can explain," she says.
Fortunately, being indoors gave Buckley the opportunity to find the gift of music. Two years after her surgery, Buckley became restless. In an attempt to relieve her boredom, her mother bought her a small keyboard. One day while she was playing, her mother rushed to her daughter and said: "You did not play that. You did not just play that."
Her mother wasted no time and took her to see pianist Lannie Spann McBride at their church. After hearing her play, McBride nodded her head and said, "You need to get her some piano lessons."
Buckley took the pianist's advice. Today, she is a sophomore at Mississippi College studying to become a concert pianist. Over the years, she has picked up many musical awards and recognitions, such as second and fourth place at competitions held at Mississippi Valley State University.
Buckley believes she can use her music to show that anyone can do anything they wish, even with a physical or mental disability.
"The only thing I can do when someone says, 'you can't' is to prove them wrong," she says. "I just want everybody to see that there isn't a word 'can't.Ҕ