Rachel Murphy is a dancer, a 19-year-old who is driven, focused and has a good time doing what she enjoys most.
"I love to dance," she said during a phone call from her home in Bountiful. "It keeps my spirits up."Murphy has also gone through one heart transplant and is waiting for another.
A few years ago, doctors noticed that tissue around the aortic valve of Rachel's heart had thickened. During a correctional operation, they found a hole in her heart septum that needed to be bypassed. During that operation, doctors found out the inside of her heart had calcified.
Two years ago, the dancer underwent a heart transplant, but now she needs another. "We're on a waiting list," said Murphy's mother Susan LeDuc. "When it happens, we'll take her out of whatever she's doing and go through with it."
Health issues aside, Murphy loves to dance, a love affair that began nine years ago when her friend took her to see a performance. "I was 10 and thought to myself, `I want to do that,' " Murphy said. "I originally wanted to be a Utah Jazz girl, and then I wanted to go to California to make it big. But that doesn't look like it's going to happen."
Instead, Murphy, who is also a nursing student at Weber State University, formed Reflections of Diversity with her sister Marie, a troupe made up of 12- to 19-year-old dancers.
"We were part of a workshop," Murphy said. "But we wanted to do more things, and so we broke off and did Reflections."
Two other girls in the group are the daughters of singer/-songwriter Sister Mariam, who also serves as Reflections of Diversity's promoter.
"(Reflections) is a good way to nurture the dancers and those in the audience," said Sister Mariam, who doesn't use a last name. "We've performed at high schools and detention centers.
"I do believe in rehabilitation. And those youths who are in the centers still have a future. I'm a firm believer that the youth can move the world."
Since its inception in 1996, Reflections of Diversity has performed more than 110 times.
"We have been really busy lately," said Murphy. "We always knew we were going to put social issues such as drug concerns and things into the dancing. Dance is a strong way to get points across."
As for her future, Murphy wants to make as much of a difference in the community as she can. "I want to take this to as many people possible," she said.
"She has immersed herself in dance and community service," said Murphy's mother, LeDuc. "She is dedicated and has taught me a lot about caring, service and courage. I really admire her."