This is a bit of a different post for Saturday Sayings. It is about something that hits close to home for me personally, but is also inspiring, though bitter-sweet. So, since this day kind of lends itself as an open space on my blog, for things other than the norm you usually find during the week, I wanted to share it with all of you.
If you don't know, he was born with a rather serious heart condition known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), but lived his life to the fullest, with happiness, joy and smiles, never letting it stop him, or bring him or others down. Something anyone who knew him expresses most when reflecting on his life.
Ironically, he had made and posted a 2 part video on his TotalRandomness512 YouTube channel just days before his death, expressing his life story and condition. A condition that hasn't gotten much coverage or awareness until now, but that I am so glad is more widely understood because of him. His video wasn't discovered by anyone until the day after his death, making it all that more powerful, especially to his family and friends...I can only imagine.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy hits all too close to home for me, knowing someone in his 20's, who also happens to live in Austin, with the exact same condition, whom we almost lost during the summer of 2010. All doctors and EMT's said it is a miracle he is still here, and CPR was key in saving his life. His heart stopped completely, on more than one occasion, and he was shocked multiple times with "no heartbeat detected," but no one gave up on him!
The person I know was a big part of my life and someone I spoke of often on this blog, but who did not know he had the condition until that almost fateful day on June 11th. After which, his family and I were by his side, day in and day out for 2 weeks, while he was in the ICU in serious condition, as well as when he pulled through and got the same pacemaker and defibrillator implant Ben had.
Much of what we experienced during that traumatic time for us all is what Ben himself expresses he remembers from his incidents as well. However, not just once did he "cheat death," as he says, or have to experience everything, but on three separate occasions in his life, prior to the day, and 4th time, when it ultimately took his life. Unfortunately, some don't take the condition as seriously as I think it needs to be taken.
So, when I heard the news about Ben, I was unable to view the videos that he had posted about his story and heart condition, which had gone viral, because I knew I was not in a place, mentally or emotionally, where I could handle hearing it. Fearing having to almost relive the experience I went through, second hand, once more. Especially knowing how the mere mention of that heart condition causes anxiety to this day.
That said, on Wednesday evening, Leap Day, I sat down and watched Part 1 & 2, though not planned, after randomly coming across another video on YouTube linking to them. The videos filled me with emotions, on a personal level, that I can't fully explain to anyone. Emotions I know so many others around the world felt too while viewing it, but for different reasons.
So, today, I want to share both parts of Ben Breedlove's story with those of you who may not have seen them, as well as with those who have. All in hopes of offering a little reminder, something we all know, but often take for granted, when getting caught up in the routine of it all...