“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”-Thomas Edison

Throughout life, I’ve learned that we are often presented with many different opportunities, some exciting and some that seem slightly terrifying. I believe a truly great opportunity though is one that forces us outside of our comfort zone and challenges us to achieve our full potential.

Recently the issue of physician assisted suicide has become a huge debate in our country. As a childhood brain cancer survivor and someone who has faced many obstacles including being told I would die  at a young age, becoming physically disabled, and overcoming the odds to live my life, I truly believe physician assisted suicide is wrong. I have fought for my life and know the ugly side of suffering but I also know the beauty of it. It is part of the human experience. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Cancer backed me into a corner but I came back fighting and continue to keep pushing forward.

Two years before doctors found my cancer, my dad was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that slowly eats away at one’s muscles eventually paralyzing and killing them. Although he knew the disease was fatal and that living with ALS would be far from easy, he faced every challenge with strength and courage. My dad lived for almost eight years with the disease despite the fact doctors told him he only had two years to live. Watching my dad slowly die was not easy but seeing him fight to the end inspired me to continue working hard and stay determined despite the obstacles I faced. It was from both my dad and cancer that I learned to always keep a positive attitude, to hope for the best, and to never give up.  I truly believe everything happens for a reason and that without facing challenges early in life, I would not be the strong, determined, and optimistic person I am today.

I’ve been asked by the Maryland Catholic Conference to testify against the recent bill to legalize physician assisted suicide. The Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for the Catholic Church in Maryland and represents the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington. This is an amazing opportunity and although I’m slightly terrified, my excitement outweighs my fear.

At first, I was worried about what others may think of me or if I’m a good enough person to do this but honestly, I don’t care anymore; I’ve accepted this challenge. Like I said earlier, a great opportunity is one that forces us outside of our comfort zone and challenges us to achieve our full potential.

“God will supply us with the opportunity but it’s up to us to do something with it”


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