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Why Trampolining Is More Than Just a Sport to Me as a Person With Scimitar Syndrome

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The phrase “gift of life” is usually reserved for someone who had a transplant and got a special second chance in life. Even though I haven’t had a transplant, I feel I’ve been given a gift in life: To live my life to the fullest as a way thank my doctors, family and friends for the life I have today.

Taking life for granted isn’t an option for me. I’ve been in and out of the hospital after I was diagnosed with an extremely rare heart and lung condition at 3 months old. I know what it’s like to not be able control your illness and, therefore, not be able to control how you feel on a daily basis.

I’m on my university’s trampolining team, and I absolutely love it. Trampolining can take its toll on the average human body, and with only one functioning lung, it’s extremely difficult. Despite finding it more difficult than others and needing help from my teammates, there was no way I wasn’t going to compete and make the most of the life I have been given. Trampolining means so much to me — more than others can probably imagine.

I know it sounds silly. I bounce on a trampoline, do a routine and then I’m done. But to me, I got through it all and my body allowed me to do what I enjoy.

When I think back on all the medical tests, hospital consultations and my diagnosis, I remember why I’ve pushed myself to achieve. A sense of emotion overwhelms me when I get off the trampoline and see my teammates. I feel so proud I’ve been able to be included in these types of events and to show my illness hasn’t taken over my life.

I haven’t only achieved this for myself, I’ve also done this for others who face challenges and for other people in my life: the two other girls I know who have Scimitar syndrome, my family, the friends who have helped me through hard times and my amazing doctors and nurses who looked after me and literally saved my life. By trampolining and living my life to the fullest, this is my way of saying thank you.

Do not let your illness take over your life. You should have the same opportunities just like everyone else.

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Originally published: January 12, 2017
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