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Woman With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome to Compete on 'American Ninja Warrior'

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Article updated August 15, 2019,

The “ninjas” who take on the famed “American Ninja Warrior” obstacle course are athletes at the top of their game — and now that includes a woman with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

• What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
• What Are Common Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms?

Enedina Stanger took the course in Monday night’s episode, along with other competitors in the Minneapolis area. In a promo video, Stanger explains that she used a wheelchair and doctors told her there was nothing they could do for her. “Seeing my children playing, I wanted to be in that moment,” she said. As she told her husband, Michael, “American Ninja Warrior, it’s going to heal me or kill me.”

This is not Stanger’s first time in the “American Ninja Warrior” spotlight. Michael competed on the show in 2015. During his time on the show, he said he was competing for his wife who has EDS and, at the time, was using a wheelchair. He competed again in 2017, and in an update about Enedina’s condition, revealed that she was no longer using the wheelchair and doing well thanks to changes in her diet and exercise.

Stanger also stepped into the public eye to fight for the legalization of medical cannabis in Utah. She was arrested in 2016 for smoking a marijuana cigarette with her children present (Stanger told People a relative of a close friend turned her in, and that her children actually weren’t there while she was smoking). Though the charges were eventually dropped, Stanger moved to Colorado so she could continue using medical marijuana, and helped advocate for a bill that sought to legalize medical marijuana in Utah. The bill did not pass.

“It’s sad that we’ve had to take such extreme measures and uproot our lives simply because I need this one little amazing plant,” Stanger said.

Last week she shared the promo video on her Facebook page and thanked her supporters and the opportunity “American Ninja Warrior” has provided:

Miracles are real. My momma always told me to never be afraid of hard work. My daddy taught me to always believe in The Master Physician. The Glory be to God.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and American Ninja Warrior has provided me the opportunity to see The Lord take the weakest things and make them strong.

God is good. Miracles are real. Living a life in the pursuit of honoring God has provided me the strength and the miracles everyday.

I am honored to STAND amoungst ninjas and call them friends. Michael Stanger, I wouldn’t be in this crazy world without you.

There are so many people to thank. God bless you. Thank you for the prayers, support and faith.

Update: Stanger fell while completing the first obstacle in the course and was eliminated from the competition. “This is just as much of a miracle for me every single day, and just standing on that platform was a win for me,” she said afterwards.

“American Ninja Warrior” airs Mondays at 8/7c on NBC.

Originally published: July 9, 2018
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