5-year-old Minnesota girl with terminal illness defying odds, checks off bucket list

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A young Minnesota girl with a terminal diagnosis keeps on defying expectations by simply living and continuing to cross off more goals on her bucket list. 5-year-old Tenley Thompson, of Pennock, skied for the first time on Sunday, with a few special accommodations.

At the age of two, doctors diagnosed Tenley with Krabbe Leukodystrophy, an often fatal disease that attacks the central nervous system. The degenerative disorder took away her ability to walk and talk, but her cognitive ability is still there.

“Basically we thought we had 6 months left with her,” mom Emily Thompson said.

Tenley's parents responded by creating a list of goals for their daughter to experience life -- hoping she would get to experience a few highlights before passing away. Disneyland and Disney World are just a couple of the goals she's been able to check off.

“We decided that this is not going to set us back, we're going to keep living,” dad Trent Thompson.

Doctors didn't believe she would make it this far. While it takes most kids just a few minutes to get ready for school, it can take a couple hours for Tenley, who is dependent on her parents.

But something unexpected happened. With each accomplishment, Tenley kept on going, living, and inspiring.  And now at the age of 5, she's skiing for the very first time at Powder Ridge.

“Crossing big things like this off her bucket list are very exciting for us,” Emily said.

For nearly two hours she went up and down the hill, feeling the cold wind on her face and enjoying each icy bump along the way. Even though her body refuses to listen, her mind is still there allowing her to connect.

“Like today, we know she's having a blast, by the way she's smiling, by her eyes. She's excited,” Emily said.

This desire to live is also what keeps her parents hopeful. Next on her bucket list is a cruise with her family and swimming with dolphins.

“She shows us every day that life is short, live it to the fullest,” Trent said.