She believed she could…
My name is Amanda. I am 17 years old and a 13-year brain tumour and stroke survivor. I’ve been living with a physical disability as a result of my stroke and tumour. Now, because of all the challenges I have faced in my life, I have decided to become a motivational speaker. This is my story.
I was born in November 2001 as a happy and healthy baby. Just ten days before my fourth birthday, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a golf ball attached to my brainstem. The tumour was successfully removed. However, during the surgery to remove the brain tumour, I had a stroke affecting the left side of my body.
After surgery, it took about a week until I was alert, because of the trauma and medications. When I did wake up, I couldn’t talk, and my body lacked any sort of muscle control. We learned that post-surgical mutism is quite common because of the location of my tumour. It took a couple of weeks of therapy just to learn how to swallow again. After that, I gradually began to speak, but very quietly and slowly. With years of hard work and therapy, I began to regain my balance and strength. I was able to progress from a wheelchair to a walker to walking independently.
This was not an easy journey. Many times, I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit therapy, it was hard work and sometimes I couldn’t see the purpose of it. Eventually I saw that it was making me stronger. I found myself able to be more independent and mature in the way of doing things for myself.
Many years and a lot of therapy sessions later, I was a happy, healthy and active child who loved playing sports. I played road hockey with my brother, I attended a few dance and gymnastics classes, and I played soccer with my friends. When I was 10 years old, I was introduced to a special abilities cheerleading team at the Cheer Sport Sharks and quickly fell in love with the sport. I started to work harder at my exercises because I knew that if I worked hard it would help me with my cheerleading ability. Cheerleading helps give me the drive to keep working when I get discouraged or lose sight of my goals.
Once I overcame my struggles and difficulties, I decided to start sharing my story with the world via my blog and YouTube channel to inspire others to reach their goals and never give up. I have now become a motivational speaker and influencer. I speak about my journey and what I have had to face in my life to get to where I am today. I hope by doing this that I will encourage others who face these types of challenges to persevere and reach their goals. I would not change anything that has happened to me in my life because it has only made me stronger.
I have gone through a lot in my life, both good and bad, but each experience has taught me a very important lesson about myself. I have learned how resilient I am and that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and work hard enough. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have.
“She believed she could, so she did”- R.S. Grey