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When Whitney Mitchell (pictured) lost her arms and legs to an illness two and a half years ago, she was pursuing a career in dance.

Her life has taken a different path since then, but she continues to dream big. Mitchell just took her first steps a few weeks ago with her new prosthetic legs. Her movements were small and paced, but the young woman plans on taking giant strides in the future, reports CBS Dallas.

“I really want to inspire people,” said Mitchell. “I want to tell them no matter what (their) circumstances (are) you can pull through and keep going.” The 21-year-old was celebrated at a fundraiser to cover her medical costs at the Chocolate Secrets and Wine Gardens in Dallas on Sunday night.

Her positive spirit has kept her forging ahead with new aspirations of becoming a fashion designer.

Mitchell developed flu-like symptoms back in 2010, that ended up being diagnosed as sepsis, a bacterial infection of the blood. The then-aspiring dancer and performing arts university student was given a twelve percent, one week survival rate. The bacteria in her body was causing alarming levels of inflammation. In order to survive, doctors would have to amputate her arms and legs.

Mitchell’s mom, Patricia Kirven, remembers how difficult it was to make the heart wrenching decision of allowing the doctors amputate her daughters limbs. “It was tough,” Kirven said. “I’m her mother and I watched her take her first (steps) and I remember counting her fingers and toes and so for her to lose all of that is hard. It was hard to swallow.”

While Mitchell admits to occasionally staring at old pictures of herself, she does not let what has happened to her put a damper on what’s to come. The young fighter plans on returning to college to complete her degree, which she will switch to fashion design.

She knows that it is unlikely that she will ever be a professional dancer, but it doesn’t keep her from believing it can happen someday. “It may not be the way everyone thinks dance should be, but I think I can dance again.”

Whitney, we wish you all the best!

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