By Valerie Hotz


          "Julia is a joy. She is just wonderful. I started a Special Olympics Equestrian

team last year and we took 2 riders to the Iowa State competition. Julia won 2

medals in all, a gold and a silver," says Larry Eggers, Julia's grandfather, his

voice full of pride.

          Eighty riders competed in the Iowa Special Olympic Equestrian program,

with each rider being limited to two events. "I competed in the walk and western

horsemanship with my quarterhorse, Boogie. Bringing home the gold medal and

 a silver medal was exciting," says Baxter.

          During high school Julia took several photography classes. Her photographs

 won blue ribbons at the 4-H fairs and she continues to enjoy photography today.

 Although Julia is unable to do strenuous sports, she is very active and enjoys hiking

across the hilly terrain where she lives, near the Mississippi River, and swimming.

She is also involved in Special Olympics cheerleading and bowling.

          Julia and her grandparents recently returned from San Diego, California,

where she spent two weeks undergoing testing as part of Dr. Dohil's

gastronenterology study and Dr. Trauner's myopathy study. "It went fine.

I really enjoyed seeing all the animals at Sea World, the Wild Animal Park and

the San Diego Zoo," says Julia.

          Diagnosed with cystinosis at age one, Julia started phosphocysteamine

immediately and then cystagon when it became available. "She has taken

cystagon pretty much her whole life. Julia has not had a transplant. We are thankful

for cystagon and have high hopes for further breakthroughs in research that will

result in individuals taking less medication and taking it less often. Julia has been

taking eyedrops since she was 2 years-old," adds Eggers.

          Julia has coped with a learning disability that involves short-term memory

loss.  Tutors assist her with a reading curriculum so that she can work on

improving this skill. She prefers stories about animals, especially horses.

 "Learning to read has been a struggle. She learns best with special assistance

from aides who can read her the material aloud. Julia was able to pass her

driving training test using this method and when the choice of answers were

read aloud, she was able to select the correct answer," says Eggers. "Dr. Gahl

maintains Julia's reading difficulty is not related to cystinosis in any way," he adds.

          Julia and her friend, Savannah Smith, put together a 4-H project on cystinosis,

which won a Blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair . A pediatrician with 14 years in the

practice viewed their presentation and told the girls he had never heard of

cystinosis. "Julia herself is helping to spread the word," adds Eggers.

          Movies about animals are Julia's favorite type of film and working with

animals is what she loves best. "I am still riding my horses and I plan to

compete again next year, when the weather warms up," says Julia with much


          Julia and her grandparents are looking for opportunities for her to work with

animals in some capacity that does not require her to read information. "We don't

 have handicapped kids, we have special kids. Julia has great compassion for

animals. If we can locate a job that involves animals and she can receive

verbal instruction about her duties, she will contribute so much," says Eggers.

If you have leads on related job opportunities, please contact the Cystinosis Foundation.