This I Believe

Katie - Seminole, Oklahoma
Entered on September 6, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in Determination.

I believe in determination. From a literal stand point, determination is a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end; for me it is so much more. Determination was introduced from the very beginning of my life though my sister, Amy.

Standing 4’8”, 118 lbs, my sister is not an ordinary big sis. She has a syndrome called Prader-Willi Syndrome which is a rare disease caused by a chromosome variation. Always hungry, and never fully developed, with no chance for a normal future, my big sister Amy continues to desire to accomplish much more than anyone said would be possible. Amy’s intelligence level is greater than most people with Prader-Willi. She travels to various conferences to explain her life with the syndrome. Where most people would give up or get discouraged, Amy uses her determination to educate doctors on the rare syndrome.

She lives an almost independent life with one other girl who shares her disability. She has twenty-four hour staff that drives her from place to place, administers medication, and moderates her food. For years, Amy struggled with the simple task of tying her shoes. She tried over and over again, but she just couldn’t maneuver her fingers around the shoe strings. As time went by, we had all forgotten and given up on her ever being able to tie her shoe, but Amy did not. Walking into the room with a smile on her face, Amy presented to the entire family that she had finally accomplished her goal. On occasion, she will get upset about the realization that she can never marry or bear children, but instead of giving up, she tries even harder to be a normal functioning adult.

Many debates that we have had with Amy have concerned her job. Her having a job is a key factor in her normality of life. She actually wants to work more hours, and have a more complex occupation, which she is miraculously fully capable to achieve with hard work. However, she cannot be financially independent and still legally be able to have people to take care of her. This concept is something that we still have not been able to make her understand. Her disappointment shows her determination in contrast to many Americans who can help themselves, yet choose to rely on the government. Daily, Amy strives to live out the best of her potential.

I believe in determination, and I believe in my sister. She is the greatest person in my life, and has impacted who I am today. She gives me hope when I think a task is too big. Amy’s determination is what has made her more articulate and higher functioning than the odds had shown. My sister is a living miracle, and she is in fact the reason why I believe in determination.