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Make A Difference

“In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” --Mother Teresa

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Misti, child life therapist

Misti, child life therapist

Misti, child life therapist

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In my life, I have encountered multiple challenges that have changed and shaped my life today. In my experience, I always thought that change occurred when you lost a loved one or when your best friend moves to a different state. Whether bad or good, these changes have a big impact on a person. These types of change may be challenging or easy to handle but, yes, changes do occur unexpectedly. In my experience, mine was a sudden life change. Even when everything in life is going well, something good or bad always has to come and impact, not only your life, but friends and families as well. For obvious reasons, problems occur unexpectedly.

I had always been in good health throughout my life, until the beginning of my seventh grade year when I began to experience uncontrollable headaches. One morning, I woke up thinking I was at the grocery store as I unknowingly yelled angrily at my mother. Realizing that something was wrong, my parents rushed me to the doctor in which a CT Scan was taken to figure out the problem that I was experiencing. As I struggled to stay awake, the doctor came in, concerned by the news that he was going to deliver to my parents and I. The moment he gave us the news, I bursted into tears. I had been diagnosed with Craniopharyngioma, a rare type of benign brain tumor that is located near the brain’s pituitary gland and, of course, this frightened me. I didn’t know what to expect except the worst.

That same day, I was rushed to Kaiser Permanente hospital in Hollywood. After undergoing three major brain surgeries, I spent three months in the hospital. Throughout those three months, family members, friends, and the most caring and loving person, Misti, visited me constantly.

Misti is a child life specialist who specifically works with the pediatrics intensive care unit with children who are going through difficult times. The first day I met Misti, my life changed. She was calmly explaining to me what an MRI machine was, and I knew at that moment that Misti and I would become close.  It had seemed as if God had sent Misti to guide me toward positive side of life and to oversee the problems that were surrounding me. Misti despite the hundreds of children in the hospital, had figured out a way to visit me everyday. We would paint, watch movies or simply make conversation. The best thing about Misti’s visits were our conversations. With her sweet, calming voice and her outgoing character, she always managed to brighten my day up.  Misti was simply a wonderful woman with an enormous heart.

The day I was released from the hospital, was the happiest yet saddest day of my life. I was discharged from the hospital so late at night that I did not get the chance to thank my best friend. The next day, I received an email from Misti. This email filled me up with happiness and joy just knowing that I still had a friend to talk to.

As months went on Misti and I continued to email each other to update one another on how life has been treating us. With the constant visits and emails, I realized that I wanted to make a difference in children’s world. Misti inspired me to start my foundation, Clarissa’s Dream. I started donating bedside kits to children in the hospital to keep themselves occupied while they stayed. Like Misti, I wanted to help children in the hospital. I aimed to be seen like an angel sent from above to guide these children towards the positive direction of their journey like Misti had done to me.

Misti has impacted my life to become the woman I am to day. She has inspired me to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s with just one simple gesture. With the helpful lessons and tips that I acquired from Misti, I will continue to make a difference in not only my future, but also the future of others. My advice to the future graduating classes of El Modena is to make a difference. If we all contribute, we can make the world a better place than it already has become.

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