A reason to fight by Karen Richards

Here is a picture of me on life support trying to smile despite a difficult situation. I was fifteen in this picture.

The question is, why do you get out of bed in the morning?

As you think about what your answer may be, I would like to explain mine…

I get out of bed in the morning because I have things to do and I have people to see.

I get out of bed because I want to make the world a better place and if I were to stay in bed, how could I accomplish that?

The first time I cheated death I was in eighth grade. My brainstem was compressed and the future was uncertain. On November, 7th, 2013, Dr. Fadheem Sandhu saved my life with a cervical fusion. The second time I cheated death was just months later, when my throat closed three times in one day. I was diagnosed with a rare disease that causes anaphylaxis. I have been taken away in an ambulance more times than I can remember for my throat closing, the most recent time when they picked me up my O2 stat was 76% (this is not good). I have used over one hundred epi pens in my life. I try not to think about all the times I would have died if I didn’t have a second or a third one in my purse on that particular day. Because I shudder to know that the line between living and dying was so small. I cheated death again when I contracted meningitis. Just days before my first day of highschool I was being taken back into emergency brain surgery. I cheated death when a clot passed through my internal jugular, instead of going to my brain, it decided to clot at the entrance. I would have suffered a major stroke, I was only millimeters away… I cheated death when I had stents placed in my brain, so that my other internal jugular would not stop pumping. I am a girl with one jugular. I have closed my eyes and taken the pain as they shoved a breathing tube down my throat. I have woken up during two surgeries, the beginning of one and the end of another.

I have cheated death so many times, that I can no longer see the difference between a corpse and myself.

I am not dead because I am lucky. I was in the right place at the right time and I had the right doctors on my team. 

I come from a middle class family and we have access to proper medical care.

I am alive because I have privilege.

For no reason other than luck.

People cannot help what life they are born into.

Not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for this life.

After I have cheated death so many times, I have realized the question I must ask myself: so what?

I’m alive, so what?

Well, I am alive!

I must make my life count. I have made it my goal to stand up for everyone.

Not just the privileged.

Everyone. 

Everyone is entitled to live. This week I spent my free-time calling senators against the ACA.

Then the executive order was passed… Banning immigrants from the country. Taking away hundreds and thousands of lives.

I am a citizen of the United States of America. My constitution says that I am entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.    

And yet, these rights are being threatened for so many people.

I cannot stand by and watch injustice… I have decided to use my website, Sweet Lemon Pies as a platform for sharing ALL STORIES.

I will fight for everyone because I believe that everyone deserves to be fought for.

Contact me at: karen@tcapp.org

Written by Karen Richards aka Molly Jones.

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