Angeli Vanlaanen has had it rough. When she was ten years old, she fell ill and continued to experience injurious symptoms until she was twenty-four: headaches, sore muscles and joints, fatigue, fainting, blurry vision, and so forth.
Still, she pushed herself to learn how to ice skate and snow ski. Her sport of choice is women’s halfpipe skiing, which she competed in despite the severe pain in her joints and her other physical ailments. Doctors had long ago given up trying to diagnose her illness. Maybe she was making up the symptoms. Maybe it was all in her head—that is, until her aunt learned about Lyme disease, often spread through a tick’s bite, and thought those symptoms were similar to what Angeli constantly suffered.
Instead of being relieved, Angeli found out she had to quit skiing for two whole years so she could take antibiotics, adjust to a new diet, and abstain from physical activities. When the doctors declared she was in remission, she began the long trek to get back into condition to compete again, gaining just enough strength to compete in the 2012 New Zealand Open, where she earned second place in women’s halfpipe.
She also competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, competing on the U. S. women’s halfpipe team!
Now it’s your turn: What about you? Most likely, you’ve faced great odds in some area of your life. You’ve plowed through some difficulty to get where you are today. Write a paragraph or two of your story to show how you completed a task in the face of great resistance or how you survived something that was tough to deal with.
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