So, I decided to start searching for other amputees and I found Bethany Hamilton. She is a surfer and a shark attack survivor who lost her left arm. You’ve probably heard of the movie about her life called ‘Soul Surfer’. I was inspired by how she faced her amputation and went back on her surfboard and participated in international competitions. Seeing how she turned her amputation into a success story not only inspired me to do the same but also gave me the conviction that I will be OK. As much as other people tried to tell me so, it wasn’t until I saw it happen to someone else that I actually believed it. I will be OK.
I realized the importance of having a living example in Lebanon to assure Lebanese amputees that their lives don’t have to change; and their dreams don’t have to end. Another thing I found lacking was support groups for amputees to meet and talk with other amputees. This is especially important because it will provide them with the reinforcement that there are other people who are sharing the same physical and mental hardships. For these reasons, I decided to start a support group for amputees in Lebanon. I am currently still taking treatment and using the little time I spend awake to brainstorm what such a support group would look like.
I would also like to use this talk as a call of action for anyone, especially amputees who would like to join me on this venture. I have four objects in front of me: the floater to remind you to let go and save your energy once caught in a waterspout; the children’s handwriting book to remind you not to let your obstacles define who you are; the wig to remind you that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional, and finally the dog leash to encourage you not to postpone your dreams.
Today’s event is called a time capsule. A time capsule is a way to store objects as a means of communication with future civilizations. I have four objects in front of me, each symbolizing one of my lessons. And in a way, these objects are my time capsule to all of you.