Hello! I’m a 17 year old high school student in British Columbia, Canada. To people that first meet me, I may seem just like any other student that walks the hallways of my school. Hardworking, at times outgoing, and at other times quiet. I have a passion to make a difference in the lives of others and change the world. I have goals and dreams that I believe I will achieve, and won’t let anything stop me. Those that know a bit about my past understand why.
When I was born, the doctors could tell that there was something wrong with my leg. Later on, we found out that my left tibia was bent outwards and grows much slower than my other leg. I have had limb lengthening and straightening using the monotube and the illizarov. In order to correct this birth defect, I have had ten surgeries. Now, if someone were to look at my legs, all that’s left are some faint scars. Other than that, one might notice the fact that my left foot is a couple sizes smaller than my other foot. If someone were to look at an x-ray they would probably see a snapped screw embedded in my tibia and a fibula that does not join together in the middle. But my left and right legs are now the same length and the bow that was once there is barely noticeable.
This road definitely has not been an easy one, but it’s been an amazing one. I would not wish to change any of my past. Throughout the surgeries, there were complications; broken screws, infections, snapped wires, and bones that weren’t lengthening properly. It was odd for me to end up with so many different problems along the way, but every experience is unique and you never know what tomorrow will bring. Every moment has taught me something extremely valuable, and has made me who I am today.
I’ve noticed that when children are faced with obstacles like this, they definitely fight through it. They fight through the pain, the frustration, and the different challenges put in their way. Quite often, they do it with a smile on their face. There are definitely moments when that smile doesn’t show (I know, I’ve been there) but no matter what, it always comes back. Children are absolutely resilient.
At times, I’m sure it’s also difficult for parents. I can’t even imagine what it would be like seeing your child cry in discomfort or express frustrations that you can not do anything about. Although I don’t know what it’s like for a parent to watch their child experience this, I know what it’s like to be the child. And honestly, the best thing that parents can do is just be there. Sometimes the best medicine really is laughter, smiles, and to remember everything that’s positive.
Like I said, if it weren’t for the things that I’ve been through, I would not be who I am today. I’ve connected with so many people and formed such meaningful relationships. These people have helped me through so much and are so important to me. I’ve been inspired to help others through the challenges they’re faced with. I volunteer in my community in any way that I can, I support so many different causes, and recently helped to build schools in both Kenya and Ghana. I’m actually currently fundraising to go back to Ghana. In the future I would really love to have a career in the medical field as well as continue to help locally and globally.
I tell others the difficult stories of my past, and the amazing experiences I’ve had along the way because I want to show that anything is possible. I want to share the importance of always believing, holding onto hope, and reaching for our dreams. I take any opportunity that I get to do public speaking, as well as regularly share my thoughts in my blog, ilaughlovedream.blogspot.com. I find these things so important. I am grateful for the obstacles placed in my path because they have shown me how to not only exist in this world, but to truly live.
Keep dreaming & keep believing,