Recovering From a Life-Changing Incident and Becoming a Role Model - PresenceLearning

IrazuThe following is a guest blog post by Irazu Rodriguez, a senior at Synergy Quantum Academy in Los Angeles, California. Following a brain aneurism in the summer of 2012, Irazu faced months of rehabilitation and healing. She worked online with a PresenceLearning speech-language pathologist (SLP) during her junior and senior years to help recover her speech. After tremendously hard work, Irazu is now about to graduate with her classmates and has recently been accepted to college. In honor of her achievement, PresenceLearning is proud to help sponsor Irazu’s tuition, and is matching donations from generous people like you! Please take a moment to donate (and share) our campaign on GoFundMe.  

Every morning I wake up with the bright sunlight on my face and a big smile because I no longer have to worry if it will be my last day. I went through an experience that few people have overcome, the challenge of struggling for my own life. Everyday, I smile for a good reason and this reason changed my life. Before anything, I would love to tell you about my life and what I have overcome.

My name is Irazu Rodriguez, and I’m a senior in Synergy Quantum Academy. I was born in Mexico. When I turned two years old, my mother and I immigrated to Texas and from there we moved to Los Angeles. I’ve been living here since then. Later, my mother went back to Mexico to get my two older siblings that were left there. My mother saw that living here in California, she could give us a better future than what she had. I’m the middle child out of four children and I’m going to be the first to graduate high school. My older sister couldn’t finish school because she had to babysit my sister and me while my mother worked to support us. My older brother went to Jefferson High School, but didn’t graduate because he needed a few more credits and decided to drop out.

On June 14, 2012, I had an accident that I will never forget. It changed my life and the way I am now. One of the veins in my brain popped while I was in school and I had to be taken to the emergency room. I was terrified to find myself stuck in a room with computers around me. My head was hurting and it felt like someone was just hitting me really hard. I did not know what happened to me and I could not move my whole left side. I slowly touched my head, my hair was all gone, and a piece of my skull was gone too. But, the worst part was the large scar on my head. Many things come to mind. I thought, “Am I still beautiful with this scar?” or “ Who will want to talk to a girl with a scar on her head?” These questions flashed through my mind all the time.

I spent my whole summer in the hospital with no one to talk to. I was later told the story about what happened when I was brought into the hospital. As soon as I was brought into the emergency room, the doctors had to get ready for surgery. The doctors had to remove my skull right away in order for them to be able to clean the mess the blood clot caused. I was in coma for few days, but in a strange way, I was aware of my surroundings. My family and I still wonder about the days I spent in a coma. I felt someone or something with me while I was in coma. I felt my uncle, who passed away, right next to me taking care of me. I knew in that second everything was going to be okay, and I’m not alone.

When I came out of the hospital, I had to wear a heavy helmet to protect my brain and prevent any further damage. However, when it was time for me to enter school, I had a really difficult time being accepted because I had to wear a helmet to all my classes to protect my head. I re-entered school after a long period of absence and I thought I wasn’t going to graduate on time with the rest of my class. When I was recovering from my accident, I was becoming a role model for many teenagers and adults. I talked to them about my experience and how I overcame it. I felt really great talking about my accident by making them realize they had many things in life to be thankful for.

This is one significant event in my life that I will not forget. Even though I went through a lot and missed many activities, I have become a role model for many people. This event also made me a strong young girl and made me reach for things I want in my future. I spent my 2012 summer in the hospital, but this summer I was active by giving a presentation about my experience in front of three hundred people. When I finished my speech, I felt proud of myself.

As teenagers, we want to be free and do what every teenager wants to do. Some teenagers will break laws, drop out of high school, join a gang, end up in jail, or have a family at a young age. This is because some teenagers don’t look at the future and what they want to accomplish. My whole life, I’ve been told I wasn’t going to graduate from high school, so why even try; I was going to end up like the rest of my friends, with no education and pregnant. I wasn’t going to let anyone destroy my dreams to become a successful person.

Now I’m going to be the first of my whole family to graduate from high school and enter college. My family thinks that since my older sister got pregnant at a young age and my older brother dropped out of high school, that I’m going to follow in their footsteps and end up like them. I told them that I’m not going to end up the same and I’m going to be a successful person. I have a dream and I’m not going to let any negative people destroy it and stop me from reaching for my goals.

Some people think bad things about the people who live where I do, in South Los Angeles. Some people think we are bad people. They think all of us are in gangs and we are rude to others. They only listen to the news or articles written about South Central. But not all of this is reality; we have parents that work hard everyday to give us a better education than they had. They do not want their children to end up with no education or earn minimum wage like they do. Not everyone is bad; we all want a better future. But it’s been hard to reach a better image since most of us are immigrants.

Now that I’m a senior in high school, I’m going to show the world that no matter where you’re from, you can be a successful person. I don’t want to be the girl that people think I’m going to end up like. I’m going to work hard everyday and to go to college to get my diploma. I will reach my goals no matter what and be the person I want to be. I would love to be able to help other people to reach their goals. Helping each other we can make a better world.

Irazu, you have been such an inspiration to all of us at PresenceLearning, and we know your future is limitless!


18 responses to “Recovering From a Life-Changing Incident and Becoming a Role Model

  1. Thank you for sharing your touching story that is a reminder to never give up. You are already on the path to be successful and we have no doubt that you’ll accomplish amazing things. We can’t wait to hear about the next chapter in your life- college! 🙂

  2. You are such an inspiration, Irazu! I have been following you story and have been so impressed with your strength and positivity. Reading your words is heartwarming and refreshing. I’m excited for your future and all the amazing things I know you are going to accomplish!

  3. Amazing, grown-up lessons learned at such a young age! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. You will do extraordinary things and you will inspire others to do extraordinary things, too!

  4. Irazu – thank you so much for sharing your story. I have no doubt that you’ll do amazing things in the world and positively influence others in ways that you can’t even imagine right now. Have a wonderful time at college, you’ve earned it!

  5. Irazu, you inspire me, as an adult, to dream big! Never let the world tell you “you can’t”. Choose to listen to the voice inside that tells you “you can”. I know you will go on to do great things in your life. Stay strong and press on!

  6. Irazu, it was such a pleasure getting to know you last year, first at Synergy, and later when you gave your speech at the conference. You have such drive, intelligence, and poise; I know you will go far and accomplish anything you set out to do. Good luck in college!

  7. Irazu, having dealt with a TBI in my family, I know it’s not easy to keep moving forward when the odds don’t seem to be in your favor. Your willingness to share your story, your focus, and your drive are truly inspiring. You have a very bright future ahead of you!

  8. Irazu, I am filled with joy and excitement for you! You possess outstanding character and strength. You treat everyone around you with respect and inspire everyone with you inner warmth and joy. I have no doubts that you will continue to succeed as you go off to college. Congratulations!!! How lucky I feel to have crossed paths with you. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined…” (Henry David Thoreau)
    We are cheering for you!!!

  9. Absolutely amazing. I shared this with a student I know who is just recovering from a car accident and learning to live with a TBI. Your story helped her make it through the day.

  10. What a powerful story for both teens and adult. God has great things planned for you and we wish you much success!

  11. Irazu, you should be so proud. The way you articulate your story is quite incredible. I have no doubt that your future is bright. With your strength and determination, I can’t wait to see where you go from here. Go make your dreams come true!! You deserve it!

  12. Irazu – What an amazing person you are!! You have gone through so much, and came out a shining star. You inspire me and so many others with all that you have overcome, and I personally read your story over and over again. It is such a success story and motivates me in many areas of my life. I have also shared your courageous story with my teenage children, so they can see the wonderful things other young adults are doing when times get tough. Keep up the great work and know you have touched many people with your story in such a positive way. Good luck with the great future you have ahead. ~ Teri Becker

  13. Irazu – Thanks for being so transparent with your experiences. I know your story will inspire others to succeed. I’m excited to see and hear about what great experiences and opportunities college will bring you.

  14. Oh the Places You’ll Go! Thank you for sharing your inspirational story and best of luck with all your future endeavors!

  15. What a beautiful essay, and what an inspiring story. Never stop chasing your dreams, and know that there are many people who are on your team and rooting for you – even many you’ve never met! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  16. Irazu! You are such a compelling, articulate and inspiring young woman. Hold your beautiful head high and know that you are going to make many differences in many lives. You already have!

  17. Irazu- you are an inspiration and are already a successful person!! Enjoy college and keep smiling!

  18. What a compelling and inspiring story. Thank you for the courage to share your dreams with us and for providing an example that everyone can take something from. Keep your head held high!!!

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