Orlando woman inspires through Instagram while struggling with her own battles

Viral sensation raises awareness for chronic illness

By Carolina Cardona - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - At 15, Rachel Denton was an active teen and doing what most teens do at that age, but then she began to experience joint pain and weakness in her muscles.

"At first it was difficult because when you're young, you want to be able to go out and do everything like everybody else is doing," Denton said.

She's become a viral sensation -- offering a glimpse of what's it's like to train her service dog as she struggles with a chronic illness. 

Now 24, Denton was diagnosed this year with a condition known as POTS.

"That is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. My heart rate accelerates. When I stand, I get dizzy. Sometimes I pass out. You can get a whole host of different symptoms just from standing," Denton said, explaining why she usually depends on a wheelchair. 

Despite some bad days, her faith and spirit stay strong.

"Just knowing that I have a purpose regardless of what my circumstances are and that I can use my struggles and my issues as a means of showing how great God is in my life," Denton said.  

She shares her words of hope and inspiration to thousands on Instagram.

"I can put out for others that it doesn't have to suck, it doesn't have to be the end of your world, you can still look for the joy and the good. As long as you look for something positive every day, then you're gonna make it through," Denton said.

Her followers have also become part of her support system.

"More than anything, what I really appreciate is, I like that I can connect with people on Instagram that have similar issues as me because then you feel like you're not alone," Denton said.

And she's never alone. Her now quite-famous golden retriever Mozart is her best guardian. Two years ago, Denton started training him to become a service dog for New Horizons, but there was something special about Mozart.

"When I originally first got him, I didn't know, I didn't realize how much of an impact he was going to make in my life," Denton said.

Last summer, Denton and her beloved Mozart became Walt Disney cast members.

"I love that I have the opportunity there to show thousands and thousands of people from all over the world that people with disabilities can definitely still contribute to society. While I'm there, I don't have to worry about all of the issues I have personally. I can just go there and make magic for guests," Denton said.

Click here to follow Denton on Instagram.

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