Free Dental Implants: What Defines A Person?
I won't pretend that I deserve this any more than a number of people out there, and I feel compassion for them all. No hard feelings if I am not selected -- I celebrate the spirit of a wonderful gift that you're giving somebody.
14 years ago, the disease Transverse Myelitis entered my life, and I went from being a gainfully employed 22 year old with all the potential in the world, to being paralyzed from the waist down with no identifiable reason (in fact, I did not get a diagnosis until more than two years later), in a span of a few hours.
Over the course of the next decade, I slowly recovered what function and abilities this SCI, fate, fortune and determination would see fit to provide me. I have gained back a good deal, despite the lasting limitations: I have learned to walk again, even if I cannot run. I entered college, and I'm currently a junior (at 36!) carrying a 3.5GPA at Southern Polytechnic State University in Georgia. I try to see the challenges I face as opportunities to grow, to learn how to overcome, and when I cannot overcome, to cope with. No matter the obstacles I face or have faced, I am determined to turn this around if possible.
Unfortunately, the long decade of recovery left me unemployed and dependent upon government assistance to survive. Despite living in such a wealthy country, governmentally-provided dental care is given such short thrift, so as to be almost non-existent. In the beginning of my recovery years, depression and my physical limitations kept me from seeking any available dental treatment, and by the time I did manage to find something available to me, it was too late; I lost 13 teeth in one fell swoop.
I used to insist that no matter what happened to me in life... that is, no matter the heart break suffered, the loss of family endured, the lack of support system present, the shoddy health care I was/am subjected to, no one could take my smile. The sad fact is, my smile WAS taken. Fortunately for me, I have kept my spirit alive.
I learned my lesson, though what a hard lesson it has been. I floss after every meal. I brush at least twice a day. I've given up all sugar in my food and drink. The only thing I have not reached or reclaimed is the ability to recapture my ability to smile freely, to laugh-out-loud without hiding my mouth.
I will certainly understand if I am not chosen to receive this prize -- and of the many stories, most of them sad, that you will read, mine is one I hope you don't feel pity for. I will reclaim my smile, I will laugh again without shame; it will just take me much longer to reach those goals without a little (more) help.
Thanks kindly for this chance.