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1. The Torch of Serendipity

Hold Up Your Torch

I was standing on an iceberg shaped ground in a darkness of nothingness. This ground then suddenly dropped below, disappearing underneath my feet. I had to exert so much energy to jump onto the next iceberg shaped ground that was placed higher than the one that just disappeared.

Every ground that I jumped to dropped to the darkness below and disappeared with such speed that I had to keep jumping higher and higher in order to survive. I had to run for my life.

When this endless loop totally exhausted me, I suddenly woke up and realized it was a dream.

“How was your sleep?”

Waking up from the hospital rollaway bed, my mom asked. “I had the worst nightmare, Mom.” I slowly murmured, still waking up. “Me too. I also had nightmares all night long”. She said, also still waking up.

Three days before that, I had gone through spine surgery that fused 10 vertebrae of my spine with 2 metal rods and 12 nails. I was a 15 year old teenage girl that fought scoliosis since age 11. I lost a lot of blood during this 4 hour surgery, and I was in and out of consciousness.

[Spine x-ray after the surgery]

Apparently, it was customary to store autologous blood in advance of big surgery to be given back to the patient. But my doctor did not think it was necessary, and the nurses were now confronting my doctor for my unconsciousness.

The medical staff suggested that they administer a blood transfusion to me so that I could recover, but my mom refused. Oh boy, you know those moms that mean no when they say no? I slowly began to recover after that.

Years later, I read in the newspaper that HIV infected blood was administered in that same hospital during the same time period. I also luckily totally bypassed that possibility.

I ran for my life in my unconsciousness. I also ran from the chance of receiving the wrong blood. For the past 19 years, I have not moved in most of my thoracic spine due to the spine fusion. I just don’t remember what it is like to move. 

[This is what my dream looks like]

But now I have a different dream. Not one where we have to run for our lives, but where one day, miracles will be common knowledge and an everyday occurrence. I see my metal rods magically evaporating. I see myself moving vertebrae by vertebrae. I see my spine being restored to its original straight condition. Can it be done surgically? No. I may be risking my life in order to remove what's already been done. Only through a miracle will my spine ever be able to move.

I have a dream. That one day, through a miracle, every kid who went through the same surgery be given a brand new spine and get their mobility back. That every stage 4 cancer patient is informed of no cancerous cells being detected anywhere in their body in their next CT scan. That your sexual diseases all melt away and you feel like you have a brand new body. 

Every sickness carries a story. Possibly a victim and an assaulter. Was it your parents’ fault? Was it the doctor’s fault? Was it a gap in the legal system? Was it your fault? Why did these things happen? How was it dealt with? Was the way you were dealt with acceptable to you then? Is it still acceptable now when you look back?   

I dream of a generation that holds the key to the answers of these questions. One that will transform how we respond to tough questions through a refreshed mind.

I dream of a generation that will feed the next generation with something that has never been done or seen before. A generation that will be bring home the bacon for our respective spheres in a radically different way.

I dream of a generation that will take the baton of the past and bolt with it at a speed never seen before. No matter what baton you were given, in the end, victory isn’t about what baton you are given, but how you run your race.

At one point, airplanes were considered a miracle. Today, the fact that airplanes fly is common knowledge. When miracles no longer cease to be a miracle but rather a normality, the sum of what we have left over will be greater than the sum of what we lost.

How do we make it happen?

If I tell my nailed, fused-to-two-metal-rods spine to move, you can tell your lost hope to revive again. You can find your Fresh Fire. And when you do find it, tell me, why do you want to burn? What is in your hand?

We want to jumpstart your new beginning.


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