This I Believe

Leah - Willows, California
Entered on May 10, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Real Heroes

As a woman who has spent her entire life in and out of hospitals, I am able to tell you first hand that what most see as a disability of a terminal illness could in fact be what makes us some of the strongest individuals and is not a weakness at all.

I really don’t believe I’d be the same person I am today if I hadn’t spent half my life in a hospital, had a double lung transplant, or watched a countless number of friends slowly pass away before me. Every little hurdle I have to leap over makes me stronger and more likely for that next hurdle to be a little easier. A person with a terminal illness questions everyday when they get up in the morning, and counts their blessings when they lay down every night; thanking god (or whatever their beliefs are) that they got through one more day.

I look at each day with possibility and hope for what’s to come. Unlike those who are living each day only worrying about their future and forgetting to live ‘This Day’. I’m the one to take a deep breath of the cold crisp morning air and smile because it feels as if I’m taking my first breath again.

The many friends I’ve made through my years in and out of the hospital have taught me the meaning of toughness. How these people cope with the obstacles put in front of them is amazing. All these young people never chose to live the lives they were given, yet they still want to wake up the next morning and begin another unseen battle. That is what a hero is to me. I believe that someone who chooses to live, rather than forced to live should be recognized more often as heroes.

I’m told often by different people how I’m a hero to them or have been an encouraging role model to them, but it’s hard to believe that I’m able to be that person when I was given no choice to be born with a terminal illness, only a choice to be strong enough to not give up when I’ve been given so many chances. We play the cards we’re dealt, but those extraordinary people who are dealt the bad hand of being sick are the heroes of this world and are encouragement to us all.