HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Our Surprise Squad is getting into the ring for a Holyoke woman battling a rare, debilitating disease.
After numerous near-death experiences, she never knows what's to come day-to-day, but she is coming up on a big milestone in her life.
"She was broken," Holyoke resident Theresa Whalen tells us. "You could see the breaks. We didn't know what was wrong."
Theresa remembers the first heart-wrenching moment that she laid eyes on her daughter.
"She was born with twenty-six broken bones at birth," continued Theresa.
Erin Whalen was diagnosed with Osteogensis Imperfecta, also known as Brittle Bone Disease.
"I used to take a red mark, and," said Theresa. "Put it on the calendar and, out of 365 days, we were at the hospital for 326."
Her life expectancy was just three years.
Fast forward four decades, and Erin may be one of the oldest surviving Americans with the disease.
"I've had a lot of ups and downs in my life," stated Erin.
In fact, she's turning forty on October, 26th, and the Western Mass News Surprise Squad is celebrating in a big way, a birthday party with a WWE theme.
"Yeah," stated Erin. "I love wrestling. I don't know why. It's just funny."
Events by Jackie M transformed Erin's home into quite the smackdown surprise, and Pete's Sweets with the icing on the cake.
A milestone birthday for a woman who's lived through more than 7,000 fractures, eighteen surgeries, and several near-death accidents.
"I didn't think I'd be here," said Erin. "I had a life expectancy of three and ten and eighteen I think."
"They literally gave us sevety-two hours," stated Theresa. "I never expected this. For some reason, God has given us the biggest miracle there is. She's always smiling and she's always laughing."
Now, there's certainly a reason to celebrate.
Since she's a champion, we also had to get the championship belt for her.
"Have fun with your life, because" Erin tells us. "You never know what's going to happen."
Erin's mom is asking that the community remembers her by sending her birthday cards to their home at 60 Fairfield Avenue in Holyoke.