Please, let me tell you about Kati, my wife.
When she wakes me in the morning, I bend her body and let her muscles stretch out. She opens her eyes and greets me with a smile. I never before knew a person that is as happy as Kati.
Those of you who don't know my wife or her situation are probably wondering what is going on here "bend her body and let her muscles stretch out." Those of you with a bit of a dirty mind might even be thinking, "is this some kinky stuff?".
Sorry to disappoint you it isn't.
Kati had a stroke when she was 20 years old, the doctors in the emergency ward didn't diagnose the symptoms right.
By the time, they realize what has happened to her it was already too late for; Kati was completely paralyzed with no chance of recovery at all.
The only thing she could move were her eyes.
Kati's body is in perfect condition, and so is her upper brain. However, her lower brain is severely damaged, meaning that she cannot send the signals from her brain to her muscles to make them move.
Did you know that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body? Well it is, and it is also a muscle that Kati can't move, meaning that Kati can't speak either.
Kati speaks with her eyes. We have a plastic board with letters on it. She looks at a letter and then another etc. I spell out the words and make the sentences. That is how we communicate.
Kati is in medical terms a quadriplegic, but that is not who she is.
Kati is one of the happiest people alive.
Even though Kati is locked inside her body, she still has an untamable spirit that does not have any concept of a border between possible and impossible.
She is an energetic woman with a contagiously positive attitude.
Think of any great person, a role model or hero of sort. Someone that had to fight through difficult circumstances and against all odds to overcome a situation or to just survive. The vast majority of these remarkable people still had some hope to hold on to, a reason to keep the faith.
Kati falls in the category of the ones that even hope was taken away from them, yet even then they managed to beat all odds not just to survive, but to also made their lives meaningful and worth living.
Kati lights up the room wherever she goes. Her presence alone has such an impact on people that you can see it on their faces; you can see people reflecting on their lives while looking at Kati.
As a humorous, happy person that she is, you know that at a certain moment Kati is going to start laughing and when she does she warms up the heart of the most frigid person.
Kati is to me; a miracle in human form, because most people in her circumstance would take one of these two options; give up and wait for dead or hold on and wait for a miracle. Not Kati though, Kati chose to live her life to the fullest in spite of the circumstances.
For a few years now we have been working on giving presentations to people who are in need of inspiration and motivation. All without much luck because when people hear about Kati's situation; completely paralyzed, cannot even speak. They envision a sad and sombre person, and they think to themselves how could this be in any way inspiring.
Trust me when I tell you that it is exactly the opposite; Kati is one of the brightest stars you will ever see, and I promise you that her shine will change your life forever, just like it did mine.
Let us put this exceptional lady in the spotlight and give her the honor, the merit and the recognition that she is entitled too.
Let us give this gift that is going to keep on giving. Just imagine how many souls her story will touch, how many it will give hope, inspire and empower.
I know that most of you that will read this will not be able to help, and that is ok, we all do what we can. However, even if you cannot help with the gift itself you can at least share this story so it may reach someone that can help giving this exceptional lady her well-earned recognition.
Kati's TED Talk
Henning van der Hoeven
Real Women Real Stories focuses on women, their issues and particular life experiences.
Please help us raise funds and share, so we can go to Finland and bring to light another amazing woman; Kati van der Hoeven-Lepistö.
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