※ 아래 스크립트는 발표자의 발표내용을 그대로
표기하였으므로 구어체 표현이 포함되어있고,
일부 문장은 문법적 오류가 포함될수 있는점
How many of you have seen someone
dying right next you? There are some
critical moments in our lifetime that give
us the strength to continue. It could be
a traumatic experience such as natural
disaster or an accident. Today, I would
like to share a very personal experience
that I endured that affected me so much
that I can now get through any
difficulties in my life. Beforehand, I
would like to mention that I am so
grateful for everything that I have today.
I try my best not to take anything for
granted because this is now my second
life. OK, what do I mean by second life
here? On March 25th, 1993 I was lying
in the hospital, almost unconscious.
I had been bleeding from my nose for
more than ten days. My face was as
white as a ghost. I was eleven, and
I remember that I saw my parents
sobbing through the window of the
emergency room while a group of
doctors were telling something.
Later, I found out that I contracted
leukemia. As you may know, leukemia
is a type of cancer which is considered
an incurable disease with a survival rate
of less than 50%. I was immediately
hospitalized after my blood test and
bone marrow biopsy results confirmed
my diagnosis. That was the very
beginning of my endless treatment
for the disease. At first, my parents
were desperate to find blood donors
because I severely lacked blood to
help me not only to stop the bleeding
but also to fight he disease. My
parents called all of my relatives
and their friends and they even asked
the local newspaper reporter to write
an article to find blood donors.
One of my cousins, who was serving
at the military, told his commander
about my story and many of his camp
soldiers gladly donated their fresh
blood. And, it is still running through
my veins. During treatments, I often
suffered high fevers, and I had constant
blood tests and shots which virtually
ruined all of the veins on my hands.
I also experienced hair loss due to
the strong chemotherapy. Above all,
the most fearful treatment was bone
marrow biopsy which was done on a
weekly basis. And it was so dreadful
because doctors did not put me under
anesthesia when they were inserting
a long and sharp needle into my spine.
I had to bend my back, lying on a bed,
directly feeling the needle penetrating
into my body. A shiver ran down my
spine and I screamed while naming all
of the gods that I knew to help me
escape from this agony. A couple
patients who shared a hospital room
with me simply passed away while
they were fighting the same disease.
A girl next to my bed, whose parents
denied her blood transfusion because
of their religious beliefs, eventually
died. Witnessing someone right
beside me dying was a shocking
experience for an eleven-year-
old boy. I felt like I was losing
a comrade in a battle and it was
one of the most heartbreaking
moments in my life.
However, strangely enough,
watching someone dying somehow
strengthened my resolve to survive.
I suppose that I might have wanted,
from the bottom of my heart, to
show those blood donors that I
successfully overcame the disease.
So, I decided then and there to do
my best to overcome the disease.
I prayed every single day to God
to help me to fight the disease.
Miraculously, I was able to endure
painful treatments for three years.
My health gradually recovered
and, finally, my will to survive
defeated this horrible disease,
and I was able to prove to
myself to whom I owe my life.
Ironically, my terrible childhood
experience at the hospital has
become a ‘fuel’ that has helped
me to bear through other difficult
moments in my life. Whenever
I had hard times growing up,
I always reminded myself of long,
agonizing treatments I endured.
Without the experience of fighting
leukemia, I would never have
overcome other adversities
in my life. Before I wrap up my
presentation, I would like to
introduce myself. I’ve been
working as a coast guard for the
last ten years. It is a great honor
for me to serve for the people
I love and the fact that I can
assist people in need is the most
valuable and rewarding experience.
Whenever I see people rescued
from distress with my little help,
I feel as if I am repaying the favor
that I received from many
different, unknown people
when I was sick as a child.
I hope to return this benevolence
to anyone in need so long as
this blood continues to course
through my body. Thank you.
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