The Best Is Yet to Come

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Every Warrior of the Light has felt afraid of going into battle. Every Warrior of the Light has, at some time in the past, lied or betrayed someone. Every Warrior of the Light has trodden a path that was not his. Every Warrior of the Light has suffered for the most trivial of reasons. Every Warrior of the Light has, at least once, believed he was not a Warrior of the Light. Every Warrior of the Light has failed in his spiritual duties. Every Warrior of the Light has said ‘yes’ when he wanted to say ‘no.’ Every Warrior of the Light has hurt someone he loved. That is why he is a Warrior of the Light, because he has been through all this and yet has never lost hope of being better than he is.

~ Paulo Coelho

It’s been a strange, full week for me. I have so much on my plate at the moment and July is looking at me with truly crazy eyes! Work has been insanely busy, I’m currently studying psych honours degree part-time and I have two large assignment deadlines looming and I have a ridiculous amount of social engagements this month and not to mention all the work going on in the background for our trip to Aconcagua!

I love the busyness of my life and I love stretching myself in all different directions, just as much as I love time out but sometimes too it all piles on top of me and I need a boost of inspiration to get me through a given day, after all I am human too!

Although 99,3% of my life is totally rocking and amazing, I have my not so good days too. I also have friends who have off days and days when they are feeling sad or frustrated or in a slump. This week I needed that extra boost of inspiration as the pressure of everything I have going on in life started bearing down on me.  I came across these two video’s that have truly inspired me and each day I watch the both (sometimes more than once!) They spur me on and remind me what I am working towards and that when I reach all the goals I am currently striving to reach, the victory of them all will be so very sweet.

If you find you need a dash of inspiration, I hope you take a few minutes out of your day or night to watch these two videos ~ they are truly inspirational and I know that these two videos will definitely become my part of my inspiration for my trip to Aconcagua.

 

 

It’s true that life isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s just darn right hard. People often say to me they wish they had my life. I’m always so happy and I get to do so much. But truth be told, my life hasn’t always been easy, it’s been a hard slog to get to where I am today.

At just 6 years old I got my first introduction to death. I didn’t quite understand it back then but I watched it make people around me really sad. Just a few years later once again death struck close. This time I understood it more and it hurt. I was 10 years old.

In 1994 to the beginning of 1995, I lost nine friends in the space 1 year and 2 months. It was the darkest, most devastating year of my life. I was still so young, yet I had attended more funerals of loved ones that some attend in their entire lifetime. Nine friends wiped out, never to share in their lives again. They were gone forever.  In 1998 I lost the best friend I ever had.  I didn’t think my heart could break anymore, but life had other ideas for me.

As the new millennium came around, a relationship that had lasted for most of 20’s, ended. I was broken, lost and had no clue as to who I was or where I was going. So many people I had loved and cared about had betrayed me and broken my trust. Life indeed, was a cruel and nasty place. Then a few years ago, at the age of 32, I fell really ill and at the same time I suffered the most devastating loss personally ~ Life hit me with a double whammy!

I will never forget sitting on a wooden bench in hospital watching the doctor talk to a nurse about my test results, what he said made the blood in my veins run cold. I closed my eyes as a tear spilled over. I wasn’t ready to die.

I knew without a doubt in my mind I wasn’t ready to give up the fight. I still had so much living to do. In those moments my life changed. For the first time in a really long time I saw the world in colour again and I realised I was the only one who had the choice to steer my life.  Yet again, I made it through that dark and very difficult time and each time I got pushed down, I dusted myself off and got back up again.

But that wasn’t the last of it, five years ago I had an awful accident when the tyre on my car blew and my car, when it hit the edging of the road, was airlifted and then proceeded to flipped in the air and then landed with loudest crash and then went on to roll five more times, the fact that I survived is a miracle in itself. I remember every single second of those terrifying moments.  Seconds before that first moment of impact that sent me airborne, I once again knew I wasn’t ready to die.

In the days that followed as my body healed, the emotions began to surface and I questioned why I was still here. Was there something I was missing? Was this an even bigger wake up call than before? In the end I decided it was a signpost from God, a big fat one He decided, this time one that I was sure not to miss.

I got it!

In the last five years I have done more living than some people do in their lifetime.

I am making up for lost time.

And I will never again waste another moment.

So when people look at me and say “you have such an amazing life and you are always so happy, don’t you ever get down?” I tell them of course I do but it’s like they don’t really believe me. I’ve had my fair share of life’s downs and I have been knocked so hard, I’ve wondered if I would ever get up again. It’s always a choice and you alone are the one who can make that choice.

And ultimately, none of this defines who I am. Instead, it has made me stronger willed, it has made me dream bigger and if anything it has made me believe in my dreams.  What’s past has been a journey, life lessons to grow, to heal and to become more of who I was truly meant to be.

I may not be where, years ago, I thought I would be in my life.

I’m somewhere a million times better.

Here I am.

I am grateful for every single learning curve that has been thrown my way.

For every hardship.

I celebrate.

Because I choose to live.

Every single day.

As fully as I can.

You have to define your values.

Stand tall.

In a world that is often ready to knock you down.

It is true what they say.

It is never over until you win.

You have to be hungry for life.

If it’s going to happen, it’s up to you.

To give anything less than your best

Is to sacrifice the gift.

Invest time.

Invest in YOU.

Refuse to be anything but successful.

And don’t let anyone steal your dreams.

Believe in the good.

Believe in what’s possible.

Hear your soul speaking.

Your deepest inner wisdom.

It is always worth listening to what is has to say.

Never give up hope.

Dream big.

The clock is ticking.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

The Greatest Gift of All

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On Monday, in the UK, it was the start of National Transplant Week.  On Monday too, a young girl by the name of Emma Jane Kingston lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

I did not know her personally, but since the end of last year we have shared parts of our lives over the cyber world.  At 20 years old, Emma was a fighter, a young woman living her life, while dealing with the effects of Cystic Fibrosis (CF), while still striving to live fully and achieve her dreams and desires.

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Emma Jane’s passing was sudden and her health had deteriorated quickly and in her last days she was still active online letting us know how she was doing. The news of her passing filled me with sadness and reminded me of my own grief all those years ago. To some Emma Jane may just be another statistic of CF but to others she was daughter, a sister and a friend. The tears flowed easily as I learnt the sad news; it was all too close to home.  My best friend passed away at the age of 22 from complications from Cystic Fibrosis, her name was Emma Joanne Walker.

My heart broke for Emma Jane’s family and her friends, maybe it was because her age is so close to the age I lost my best friend.  It’s almost uncanny, Emma Jane’s father’s name is David, so too is the name of my best friend, Emma’s father.  I don’t think the pain ever truly heals and it is on nights like Monday that makes my desire to fight for a cure for CF more than ever before and I pray each night that one day soon we will find a cure for this illness.

When I was about 13 years old I first heard of Organ Donation, strangely enough, through my best friend’s sister. I knew instantly, at that young age, that I wanted to donate my organs. I remember going home that night and telling my mom I wanted to be an organ donor. The next time I was at the doctor I picked up the forms and although I didn’t post the forms that year (this was before the time of internet and email!) I was still in high school when I sent the forms off in the post to register as an organ donor.

My medic alert bracelet that I wear daily and in fact, I never take off.

My medic alert bracelet that I wear daily and in fact, I never take off.

Now days most people only carry a card with them stating they are organ donors but since the day I first received it in the post, I have worn the medic alert bracelet expressing my wishes. It was, besides a watch, the only piece of ‘jewellery’ I was allowed to wear at school. I still wear it to this day, every single day.  My reasoning behind it is even thought my family and friends know I want to donate my organs, should something happen to me when I’m in some far-flung corner of the world, or my family is not reachable (so totally possible as half of them never answer their cellphones!) I want it known that I want to donate my organs and they don’t need to wait for anyone’s permission, for they have mine.

It’s kind of ironic, that when I first registered as a young teenager to become an organ donor I just thought it was a nice thing to do. Little did I know or even fully understand all those years later that one day my best friend would need the gift of life from someone.  Now in her memory, being an organ donor is one of the most important things in my life, it’s a way to honour my friend and it’s a way to simply give back.

What follows may be hard to read for some of you, it certainly was for me and the tears sting again as I re-read the last few days of Emma Jane’s journey so if you prefer to skip the next section or stop reading now, I would totally understand:

Emma Jane described herself like this “I would go out tonight, but I haven’t got a stitch to wear… abundant blogger, film geek, smiths fan, and all round funny gal. 20. CF.”

These are the words and thoughts of Emma Jane, in the days leading up to her passing on Monday, 8th July 2013.

Emma Jane: “About to watch ‘The Blind Side’ – am I at risk of excessive crying and/or eating myself to death?” ~ 11:44 PM – 30 Jun 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane: “That was so so good. Didn’t quite cry though, think the interruptions prevented that. Aww. The blind side gets a thumbs up from me.” ~ 2:16 AM – 1 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “Every single action I’ve undertaken today has taken so much effort that I actually sat down with myself and questioned why I’m still here.” ~ 10:43 PM – 1 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “The thought of washing my hair and trying to breathe makes me feel sick. This is not right. This is not normal. Why is this happening to me?” ~ 10:47 PM – 1 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “This has got v serious v quickly. I’m well and truly terrified :(  ~ 12:13 PM – 3 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “I’m basically on intensive care watch without the ventilator. The docs are running out of ideas. This can’t be it?” ~ 12:16 PM – 3 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “Looking particularly fetching with an ice pack on my ‘ead” ~ 5:19 PM – 3 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)  (She included a funny picture which I won’t repost of herself with this ice pack on her head giving a thumbs up)

Emma Jane:  “All drama here on ward 16. I’m now on high flow, got outreach nurses in and I’m being threatened with ventilation. Bad omens galore.” ~ 11:55 PM – 2 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “Ahhh I feel about as ladylike as Forrest Gump right now. Excellent.” ~ 1:00 AM – 3 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “And by rotten I mean hastily decomposing. And this is by no means an exaggeration. I’ve well and truly hit a wall.” ~ 6:19 AM – 4 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “It’s amazing how quickly your fight dries up when you never thought you’d feel as rotten as you do.” ~ 6:18 AM – 4 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane: “Just had a bed bath and fresh sheets are on so I’m more comfortable :) the nurses have been absolute angels, couldn’t ask for better help.” ~ 6:56 PM – 4 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “Felt like a hot and bubblin’ vat of viral plague earlier, bit perkier now though. I hope these pick up points occur more frequently.” ~ 2:59 AM – 5 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “I don’t think a lot of people understand how poorly I actually am. Which is weird.” ~ 1:47 AM – 6 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “Had a couple of hours awake with my step-paternal grandparents. Love them to bits.” ~ 3:41 AM – 6 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

Emma Jane:  “Had some big scary conversations with my folks too. I’m terrified but still fighting.” ~ 3:42 AM – 6 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00

Emma Jane: “Taking me literally hours to come around today.” ~ 10:00 PM – 6 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

That was Emma’s last post and we didn’t hear from her again. She passed away on Monday, 8 July 2013.

Last night Emma’s dad posted one last post, saying:

David, Emma Jane’s dad:  “A final message on behalf of Emma. Thank you for your support and kind words, she will miss you all. Love David, her Dad. #keepfightingcf ~ 9:48 PM – 9 Jul 13 (GMT+03:00)

These words of Emma Jane are the human face behind Cystic Fibrosis. A person just like you and me, but fighting every day of their lives to live.

images88So this is my personal appeal to everyone reading this post to consider organ donation. I realise and understand that this is an incredibly personal choice. For some it’s against their religious beliefs and for others it’s just against their personal beliefs but for those who just haven’t really thought about it, please give it serious consideration. It costs you nothing and you can help save someone’s life when your life has been lived.

Want a little bit of info on organ donation?

South Africa – Facts about Organ Donation

  • By becoming an organ donor you can save as many as seven lives after you die.
  • According to the Organ Donor Foundation there are approximately 1 400 adults and children in South Africa who are waiting for organs that are critical to their survival.

UK – Facts about Organ Donation

  • 10,000 currently need a transplant in the UK, and three die every day because not enough organs are available.
  • Whilst 96% of us would take an organ if we needed one, only 28% of us are on the register. (Now that’s a sad reality!!)

America – Facts about Organ Donation

  • More than 115,000 men, women and children currently need lifesaving organ transplants.
  • Every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
  • An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
  • In 2011, there were 8,127 deceased organ donors and 6,017 living organ donors resulting in 28,535 organ transplants.
  • Last year, more than 42,000 grafts were made available for transplant by eye banks within the United States.
  • According to research, 98% of all adults have heard about organ donation and 86% have heard of tissue donation.
  • 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

Still want to know a little bit more about organ donation?

  • Organs that can be transplanted include the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and pancreas.
  • Tissue that can be transplanted includes corneas, heart valves, skin and bone.
  • People can agree to transplant some organs and not others.
  • Any individual who is under the age of 70 years and in good health can become an organ donor.
  • Anyone who has become an organ donor is welcome to change their mind, simply destroying their organ donor card and informing their family that they no longer wish to be a donor.

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Although in the world today there have been advances in medical technology, the demand for organ, eye and tissue donations still vastly exceeds the number of donors.

Organ transplantation is without doubt one of the greatest gifts of modern medicine, saving the lives of hundreds of ill individuals. However, because of a lack of suitable organs, many people around the world are not able to benefit from this miracle. Those in need of transplants rely on the generosity of those donors and their families who are willing to make this life-saving gift to others.

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Would you consider becoming an organ donor today?

~ For all those who courageously fight to live, every day ~

If you would like to consider becoming an organ donor or reading more information, please click on one of the following links below. If your country is not listed below, a quick visit to Google with the words “organ donation” + the name of your country will bring up the relevant website. It’s simple to register (and free).

South Africa – Donate Life

Australia – Donate Life

UK – Donate Life

America – Donate Life

India –  Donate Life

When I woke on Tuesday morning, although I still felt sad, I felt inspired ~ Inspired to live and to strive harder and higher for my dreams.  I will miss my best friend every single day but I thank God for the years I was gifted such a beautiful friend.

Life is incredibly precious, treat it as such!

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