Struggle, Perseverance, Hope

This is a speech I gave this past spring in San Diego, California for Toastmasters International Speech Contest. I won on the club level and everyone felt I have a natural gift for speaking. We all have a message and that message needs to be heard. Thank you all again for letting me post.

This is where the story begins. A beautiful spring day, the sun was out,sky is blue, the birds were singing, squirrels were playing in the yard, and I Brian Webb am a recent college graduate. I was at home in Maysville, Kentucky discussing what I should do with my life with my parents. The choice was made that I should move to Cincinnati and live and work with my father in the IT field with his company as a mentor/internship. With my education, it was believed that I would quickly rise up to the ranks of management. After a long day of research, I drove back to Lexington content on my decision.

“Life happens while making plans.” I arrive in Lexington, Kentucky at my apartment, to rest from the long trip. I lay on the couch to take a nap. However I couldn’t, I had a strange headache coming on. Bam, Bam, BAM! Felt like a nail was being driven in the base of my skull. The pain was excruciating! I got sick and passed out! My brother arrives at my side and calls 911. An ambulance arrives, picks me up, and I am taken to the ER in a comatose state. End of story.

Now, this is where the adventure begins. Twelve years later, I discovered that I suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. A blood vessel in the back of my brain ruptured destroying the life I once knew. Doctors said that I had what is called an Arterio-Venous Malformation or A.V.M for short. I don’t really care what the doctors call it, I call it a dream killer! Tragedies happen every day, just look at the news. Being a traumatic brain injury survivor has given me a new lease on life. What I am about to share are three aspects to what one must do to succeed.

Vision. You must realize where you are going to reach your goal. You must have a dream. Nothing starts without a dream. For example I heard I should be in California with all of the programs that are available to me. That being said, I saved my money working odd jobs. One point I was working three different jobs at once. The vision is very important for success.

A belief in yourself. You must have an innate belief in yourself. Nobody wants to believe in you, if anything everyone wants to feel sorry for you. Believe in yourself and mountains begin to move. Always bet on the long shot and if you are the long shot then bet the farm! It is hard to go it alone, to believe that you are right. But, take pride in yourself and your successes whether small or great that you did this and you did it alone.

Don’t give up don’t ever give up. Babe Ruth once said, “It is hard to beat a person who never gives up.” Keep striving, keep pushing. There was a time when I could not use my legs for three months. I had to force myself out of bed and try to get my legs moving. I wanted to be normal. My physical therapist would get me up to begin the long arduous task of walking the length of the hallway in the hospital. I would take a step, step, step and BAM I would fall flat on my face. Step, another step and BAM, I fell down again. Took a step and BAM! I fell down a third time! It seemed impossible. When the world tells you to give up, hope whispers, try it one more time. Try it one more time. I got up and fell several more times but I eventually made it to the other end of the hallway. Then I graduated to the perimeter of the hospital and then was sent home to work with home health therapist walking the 3 mile perimeter of the nearest lake. Now, I am happy to say I run marathons! It has taken me twelve years to discover the new me. But never giving up has always been consistent. I am in the best shape of my life and am very proud of my fitness. The idea of never quitting when the going gets tough has helped me to succeed.

In summary I have presented three keys to accomplish your goals. They are vision, belief in yourself, and never giving up. This experiment called life has been a twelve year process, and I am not about to stop. I successfully moved to San Diego, California during one of the worst recessions this country has ever faced. I have been dealing with my own recession for twelve years. Choose life, learn to live, the miracle is inside you. Stay strong, don’t quit and never, ever give up. Thank you.

You are an inspiration to all of us thank you for sharing your AVM survivor story.

that is a great story. I thought i was grand with my whole avm and my very active and extreme sports live but reading this has maid me realise i can do so much more. Thanks