ASHBURN, Va. (FOX 5 DC) -- In Morgan Jones’ world, everyone is kind and strong.
The 14-year-old rising ninth-grader from Ashburn is a budding filmmaker.
Jones makes movies using her American Doll collection and sets made by her mother.
"I love playing with them behind the scenes,” Morgan said. "This is my passion and I want to continue to do it for the rest of my life."
Morgan has made a series of stop-motion videos – her most recent production, called “Underestimated,” just won an online contest.
"I got to kind of share my passion and share my art all on YouTube and kind of express myself through it and make this art form and that was really nice because I never thought of myself as an artist before so I really like doing it,” Morgan said.
She came upon this fantasy world as a means of escaping a dark place she’d found herself sinking into – a place born of illness and depression.
"She couldn't move her limbs. She couldn't function,” said Morgan’s mother, Renee Jordon.
Jones was once an enthusiastic and accomplished athlete – playing soccer and basketball. But then came the diagnosis: POTS.
“It’s postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and it’s where you can get light-headed from just getting up,” Morgan said.
"Essentially the blood is pooling in the extremities and whether you're sitting – standing – it causes you to faint. It causes you to lose comprehension,” Renee said.
Renee says the illness led some of her daughter’s teachers and classmates to treat Morgan unkindly.
"She would miss days of school. The teachers were not sympathetic to that,” Renee said.
"The teachers didn't really understand how I couldn't be at school every day and how difficult it was to get up sometimes – especially from the day before. They would kind of make remarks and comments and almost embarrassing me in front of the class and kind of like interrogating me...why am I never here?" Morgan said.
The anxiety and depression Morgan experienced helped her focus on the anti-bullying messages in her films.
"With my POTS movie I want to spread awareness that why POTS people with POTS can't always be present,” Morgan said.
"Some days she can't get out of bed. She still to this day some days cannot function. But when she does, she says 'I have a message. I want to post out there for people.'" Renee said.
"It shows kind of you can do anything, and just because you have some kind of... some sort of disorder or condition or something it doesn't have to stop you from doing what you want to do or following your dreams,” Morgan said.
Ultimately, Morgan hopes to inspire other young people with physical and emotional challenges.