Photos: A fork in the road; the story of two Iowa women

Stella+receives+bi-monthly+physical+therapy+at+her+home+in+Pella%2C+Iowa.+The+physical+therapy+is+used+to+monitor+her+strength+while+undergoing+the+treatment%2C+Spinraza.+Her+mother+Sarah+gives+her+words+of+encouragement+while+moving+the+hair+off+of+her+face.+%28Ben+Allan+Smith%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29

Ben Allan Smith

Stella receives bi-monthly physical therapy at her home in Pella, Iowa. The physical therapy is used to monitor her strength while undergoing the treatment, Spinraza. Her mother Sarah gives her words of encouragement while moving the hair off of her face. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

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Hannah's helper and friend Ashley Joseph adjusts her jacket before heading to a friend's birthday dinner in Iowa City. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Stella's father Travis adjust her tracheostomy tube before her lunch at their home in Pella, Iowa. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Stella's brother Sayer practices football in the backyard of their Pella home. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah's longtime friend Maddy Tornabane helps her into a replacement wheelchair. Hannah's current wheelchair is becoming less reliable after seven years of use, and she requires a suitable replacement. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Stella's brother Sayer, listens to his sister's responses on a machine that registers her eye movements. With Stella being non-verbal, this machine is one of many ways she can communicate with those around her. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Stella waits for her dose of Spinraza at the Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City. Spinraza is the only medication approved by the FDA and shows promise of halting the progression of SMA in infants and toddlers. While this process typically lasts only 30 minutes to an hour, this particular dose took over an hour and a half due to complications with drawing blood. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Stella's parents Sarah and Travis wait for Stella to wake up after a successful administration of Spinraza at the Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah and her friend Ashley rest in Hannah's apartment before a friend's birthday dinner. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah puts on makeup before a friend's birthday dinner in Iowa City. Her friend Ashley holds her arm steady. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah poses for a portrait in the living room of her single bedroom apartment in Iowa City. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Mike Hoenig, Program Coordinator for PATV's show Hello, It's Us, greets Stella in the Iowa City studio. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

From left: Stella Turnbull, Sarah Turnbull, Chalene Sauer, Mike Hoenig, and Keith Ruff discuss issues relating to disabilities on PATV's show Hello, It's Us at PATV's Iowa City studio. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah's helper Cole Wilson runs water through Hannah's hair in the bathroom of her apartment in Iowa City. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah in the kitchen of her Iowa City apartment. Her cat Mercury is seen looking onward. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Stella receives bi-monthly physical therapy at her home in Pella, Iowa. The physical therapy is used to monitor her strength while undergoing the treatment, Spinraza. Her mother Sarah gives her words of encouragement while moving the hair off of her face. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Medical equipment and supplies are pictured at the Turnbull family's Pella home. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah rides to her apartment in Iowa City after getting coffee with one of her many helpers, Maritza Lopez. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah strolls through the aisles of Hy-Vee in Iowa City to look for cooking supplies. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah waits at her living room table while her helper Claire washes the dishes. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hannah's helper Claire braids Hannah's hair before she goes to bed in her apartment on Washington St. in Iowa City. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Fork in the road is a narrative of two women in Iowa. Both of these individuals were diagnosed at a young age with the neuromuscular disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. They live 88 miles apart and have known each other for ten years. Hannah Soyer, 23, is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa and published author in Cosmopolitan magazine on the subject of sex and disability. She was diagnosed at just one year after her birth and maintains her independence through the use of hired help. Stella Turnbull, 11, lives in Pella, Iowa and is the daughter of Sarah and Travis Turnbull. She was diagnosed at five months and does not have the ability to speak with limited use of her muscles. Both of them are extremely resilient. This is a window into their lives.

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