Gold Award Spotlight: Hailey’s “Unbreakable Spirit” Documentary

Nationally, only 5 percent of Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award each year. Today we are highlighting another courageous, creative and remarkable GSEM Girl Scout who earned her Gold Award in 2014.

With her Gold Award project, “Unbreakable Spirit” documentary, Hailey Manduca catalogued her daily experiences living with a rare bone disease. She hopes to give others in similar situations insight on how she lives her life.

Hailey and Indy, her service dog (courtesy of Hailey’s Facebook page)

Hailey was born with type 2/3 Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or OI, a rare bone disorder in which people break bones easily for little or no apparent cause. She has broken over 122 bones and undergone 21 surgeries.

Hailey, however, hasn’t let her medical hardships keep her from participating in the Girl Scout troop she’s been a part of since kindergarten. Over the past 13 years as a Girl Scout, she has managed to remain an active member of her troop, enjoying activities like camping and honoring military members in the Memorial Day parade.

Her favorite troop activity was a Mall Overnight, where girls had the opportunity to hang out shop in all their favorite stores after hours, watch movies in the theater and end the evening with a giant slumber party inside the mall. 

“Girl Scouts made me understand things in a different way,” Hailey said of how her participation has helped her.

Hailey’s troop is full of her friends, girls that share her fun, spirited attitude and positive outlook on life. They love hanging out at troop meetings and planning what their next adventure will be. From learning how to survive in the wilderness to cooking with a Dutch oven, the girls have amassed some pretty amazing skills.

On top of all this, Girl Scouts gave Hailey the opportunity to create awareness of OI. Through her Gold Award project, Hailey created a documentary film that shows the lifestyle and treatment options of someone with this rare bone disorder. 

Hailey’s mother, older sister and older brother also have OI. As family plays a big part in her life, she included interviews with her mother and older brother in her documentary. Hailey says her older brother, James, inspired her to start her Gold Award when he was completing his Boy Scout Eagle Award.
Filming took around two years to complete, with footage from Hailey’s hospital visits and personal anecdotes from her daily life. A friend’s mom with professional experience helped edit and complete the documentary. 

Hailey with her cast for a broken arm (courtesy of Hailey’s Facebook page)

She hopes to have screenings aimed to show families with newly diagnosed OI children see how it can be handled on a day-to-day basis.

Congratulations to Hailey for persevering through whatever life throws her way, and using her experiences to elevate awareness of her disease, light the way for others and earn elite distinction as a Gold Awardee.

To learn more about Hailey’s gold award project, visit her Facebook group, or read a recent Cape Cod Times article featuring her work.

Do you know a Girl Scout working toward her Gold Award? Tell us about her and she could be our next featured Gold Awardee. Email

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