Photos by: Richard Parker
- Discovering a sudden health problem can be devastating. Tell us about what you went through from discovering the rare condition, to making life changes.
I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest at age 15. Although the chance of survival is about 8%, I survived. After several weeks in the ICU, I returned home with an ICD in my chest and ready to get back to normal. I thought the hardest part was behind me. Then, after further cardiac testing, there was more. I remember the feeling when they explained my possible heart condition, it was an unforgettable one. My heart plummeted in my chest, my eyes drowned in tears, and my brain spun with questions and frightening thoughts. I thought that my world was ending, and I didn’t know how to handle that being all of 16 years old. My life has really changed a lot, but it is not nearly as bad as I had imagined it to be. I had to quit volleyball and be restricted in other physical aspects, which was extremely difficult for me. But, as these doors have seemingly slammed shut, new ones have slowly opened, and I am extremely grateful for the new opportunities that I have been able to experience
- Was it difficult to keep positive not being able to play sports any longer?
Being stripped of the type of life you’ve known and loved for so long is an enormous obstacle. When I learned I wouldn’t be allowed to play volleyball because of my heart condition I was devastated. I didn’t want to lose the very thing that made me who I am today. It was very difficult to keep a positive attitude as I had to part with volleyball sooner than I had ever imagined. But, I know that it is a miracle that I am even here today, and I have other talents that I look forward to pursuing.
- How have you kept a positive attitude through the challenges?
It’s been extremely difficult to keep a positive attitude throughout everything that has happened to me. Most days in the hospital were hard, but I had a tremendous amount of support from my family, my friends, and my school. Throughout everything I knew that I had God on my side, and I knew that He had a plan for all of this. It was through my faith and the insane amount of prayers and support from friends and family that I was able to keep a positive mindset and place my full trust in whatever path God had placed me on.
- Tell us a little more about yourself. What are your passions? How do you see yourself in the world? Where do you see yourself in the future?
I am a junior in high school and I love to spend my time out on the lake wakesurfing, taking fun trips, playing volleyball with my friends, and spending time with my family. I enjoy being creative and crafty in my free time, and I have even started a small business selling my own handcrafted products. I am a hardworking student and I hope to attend a great college after I complete high school, and later possibly pursue a career in business or entrepreneurship.