Turning Her Passion Into Her Career: Marna’s Story

When Marna was born, the doctor told her parents she would likely never be able to walk. But Marna defied the odds since the beginning.

Marna was born with Arthogryposis, a muscle and joint disorder affecting 1 out of 3,000 children. Until the age of 13, Marna walked and even ran, with the help of leg braces.

As Marna got older, her height and weight began to put pressure on her knees causing her cartilage to grind down and become bone-on-bone. As much as she wanted to stay up on her feet, she was transitioned to a power wheel chair.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 4.09.46 PMAs an adult, Marna was constantly confronted with the struggle of staying healthy and watching her weight.

She decided to make a change and through a recommendation from a friend, came to the Goodwill of Orange County Rogers A. Severson Fitness & Technology Center, Orange County’s only fitness center designed specially for people living with physical disabilities.

Since her first day at the facility four years ago, she hasn’t looked back.


Marna’s regular routine now includes the Goodwill Fitness & Technology Center. She spends her time alternating between self-driven workouts and one-on-one training sessions with the center’s qualified physical trainers.

The Fitness & Technology Center gives Marna the space and equipment to stay healthy. Having a place where she knows she can get in workouts that work for her, Marna no longer has to waste time worrying about how she would stay active. Instead, she can remain focused on her passion.

Throughout all the ups and downs of her journey with Arthogryposis, Marna found her passion in one thing: singing.

In kindergarten, she was given her first solo in a school play, and in sixth grade, she won her school’s talent competition. She knew one thing: she loved to sing!

At 13, she joined the prestigious Southern California Children’s Choir and even performed with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra in front of an audience of more than 5,000. At 17, she won the Orange County Icon competition for her age group.

She has performed at venues in Las Vegas and at a number of bars throughout Los Angeles.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 4.18.15 PMOn Monday, June 13, Marna sang the National Anthem at the Los Angeles Angel’s of Anaheim game against the Minnesota Twins.

She was so excited and proud, and she couldn’t wait to take the field and sing in front of thousands of people.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 4.12.17 PMShe wasn’t alone – a large group of Fitness & Technology Center staff and friends raced to buy tickets when they found out she was performing. They even surprised her by donning matching shirts in her honor at the game!

Marna never let her health and fitness struggles stop her dream of singing. She has even turned her passion into a career and today, she works as a vocal coach for adults and kids as young as 7 who share in her joy for singing.

13423928_10154239721942445_9101648744866756849_nRising to the challenge, Marna found success at the Goodwill Fitness & Technology Center, as well as success in her love for singing.

Marna is a great example of how you should never give up on your dreams or passions, no matter the challenge that comes your way.

Watch Marna’s beautiful rendition of the National Anthem at the Angel’s game last month below!


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