One of my most difficult experiences has been going through school with an invisible illness. Bladder Exstrophy occurs in 1 out of every 50,000 live births. This means I grew up not having anyone with the same birth defect living nearby. By not having life easy, I have had experience after experience that changed me for the better.
While lying in a hospital bed, waiting for my twelfth surgery to begin, the nurse was struggling to get my I.V. to work. She had tried numerous times without success and I was on the verge of tears. As I was about to cry, a kind woman came in, held my hand, taught me techniques to help calm down and helped me get a numbing shot. The nurse was then able to get the I.V. in on her next try! I was in awe of this angelic person whom I have since learned was a Child Life Specialist. I decided right then and there I wanted to be just like her, comforting youth going into surgery and reducing any fear and confusion they might experience concerning their medical procedures. Without this experience, I might not have been guided to the Child Life profession where I feel I can make an enormous impact.
Having this challenge also caused me to miss many days of school due to doctors’ appointments and infections. Not able to associate with others or going for days being confined to my house made me extremely sad. One day, I was reading a book by Noelle Pikes Pace. She shared a story about a girl who felt alone, but eventually noticed she was paying more attention to herself rather than those around her. When she truly looked outward toward others, she realized that everyone is lonely once in a while. Reading this helped change my point of view. I have been working to change my outlook on life and how I can help others be happy. My goal is to put a smile on someone’s face every day. Doing this has helped me to be happier and hopefully has brightened the lives of others.
Last year, I decided I really wanted to make a difference in the world and signed up to be a part of the Humanitarian Experience For Youth Program. I will share with you an excerpt from my journal. “Sitting on a tiny, broken chair, in a meager house that resembled our garage, with the smell of dust filling the air, I noticed the many holes in the clothes the children were wearing. It was then I realized how blessed I have been and the depth of the passion I have for serving those less fortunate. While in this room sharing a gospel message, I gave the little girl sitting on my lap a single piece of gum. She simply glowed with happiness.” Something happened during my 17-day service trip to Peru. I came to recognize true happiness comes from the little things in life. It felt rewarding to accomplish so much in such little time. As I watched the Peruvians offer us the little food they had because of how grateful they were for our efforts, it taught me to be more humble and grateful. We helped build a medical facility and taught English. It was exhausting, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I believe the people of Peru, like myself, do not have an easy life, but we’re better people because of our life experiences.