This I Believe

Beth - Petoskey, Michigan
Entered on October 24, 2007

HOPE

Hope can help brighten some our darkest moments. My niece has lived through many difficult times in her life. These times have been filled with sadness, frustration, and adversity for her and the many people that love her. Her life has inspired me to believe in never giving up hope.

My niece was born with a rare life threatening liver disease called Biliary atresia. The only chance for her survival was to have a procedure called the Kasai procedure done by a pediatric surgeon in New York City. Soon after her birth, she was flown from Ohio to a hospital in New York City to have surgery. At that time, this surgery was new in the United States and the survival rate wasn’t certain. The surgery was not a cure for the disease, but could save her life for the time being. During this time of desperation my family and I never gave up hope that she would survive.

As my niece grew up, she seemed like an ordinary little girl. Not knowing what to expect from this disease; I kept hoping and believing that everything would be all right. If anything were to go wrong at this point, a liver transplant would be her only hope of survival. My family and I continued to have hope that she could survive this disease.

When my niece was 18 years old, I discovered she had another disease to battle, she was addicted to crack. All these years I had been thankful that she was alive having survived her liver disease. Now she was putting her life in danger everyday, poisoning her body with crack. My family and I had tried many times to get her into rehab, but she refused. After several years of drug abuse and knowing how fragile her body was from the liver disease, I knew she couldn’t go on living much longer with this addiction. I continued to hope that she would get help in a rehab or I knew she would either go to prison or die. It was difficult not to give up hope at this point.

My niece was arrested on delivering drugs charges when she was 22. She had been in jail many times since she became an addict, but this charge was a much more serious offense and she was convicted to 2 to 20 years in prison. While serving time in prison she turned her life over to God. After serving 2 years in prison, she was released at the age of 24. Now at the age of 26 and having recently gotten married, she is a changed person and believes God gives her the strength everyday to control her addiction. I think her life is a testimony of God’s goodness and forgiveness and encourages me to believe when things seem hopeless to never give up hope.