Prairie Point Middle School
Dear Wendelin Van Draanen,
Problems of a teenage girl usually revolve
around drama, boys, and friends.
But in my life, I
have much more to face than just a little squabble about who's dating whom. Much
like Jessica in The Running Dream, I, too, have lost part of my leg. Although I lost mine due to a congenital defect at the age of one,
I can relate to much of
had to go through, especially the journey back to doing what I love the most- running.
Just like Jessica, I also compete in track and road races with my friends and family. Never have I been a star competitor, winning all of my races and setting numerous records,
but I have the same love and desire for the feel of the ground beneath my body as I race to the finish.
When her accident
took that away, Jessica felt as if her whole world had come crashing down upon her, all that she had ever known had left and been replaced by an empty hole in her life, a feeling
am regrettably very fond of. Although I have grown up with my "disability" and don't remember
life with two legs, the everyday challenges that she and I face are the same. How to walk. How to
cope with the stares that people give me. How to live with the fact that people don't accept me for
who I am and not just how I look. A safe haven I have found is the same one Jessica had long before her accident.
It is running. It is the feeling of accomplishment and pride that you can still do something, the very sensation
of knowing that after all the things life has thrown
at you, you are still alive and just a person all the same. When I got to the end of the book, where Jessica
finished the race, the first time since her accident,
I felt like I was with her, crossing
the finish line right
beside her, thinking that everything will finally be okay. Realizing
that her disability
doesn't define her, but only helps her find who she really is, even in the darkest of hours.
All of the struggles that people like Jessica and I have to face every day seem sometimes unbearable, sometimes to the point where I just want to give up all hope and declare surrender. But right then, just the faintest of lights
appears, and promises
me a happier life, so that I don't have to give up. It is just like when Jessica made it to the top of the stairs for the first time after
her amputation. As simple of a concept
as it was, the milestone
was still very symbolic for the struggles
in my life, and the feeling of accomplishment when I achieve the formerly impossible. The Running
Dream taught me to become what I want to become, to strive for greatness. That the only person who can decide my fate is me. After all, the sky cannot be the limit when there are footprints on the moon.