Nine-year-old Kara is already well on her way to realizing her dream of being a gymnastics teacher. She practices twice a week and has even placed in competitions. Pretty as a picture, Kara also competes in charity beauty pageants—the last one raised funds for the American Cancer Society.

When Kara was younger, dark spots began showing up on her skin. They signaled to her doctor that she had a genetic disorder of the nervous system. At age 5, she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a disorder that affects the development and growth of nerve cell tissues. Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are used to monitor changes in Kara’s condition and help her doctors make decisions about treatment. To comfort Kara, the staff at Children’s told her that an MRI scan is just a special way to take her picture. At this, Kara smiles—she is used to having her photo taken at gymnastics and pageants.

Today, Kara visits Children’s once a year for her special “photo shoot” to make sure the disorder is not progressing. The MRI scanners at Children’s are customized for kids, and she even gets special goggles to watch videos during the exam, or she can bring her favorite CD and listen to music. After the exam, she likes to go get chocolate ice cream—her favorite treat—with her mom, sister and brother.