I go to North Central High School. In the class of 2010, a young woman named Carissa Outen graduated despite having cancer. Her story was told in front of everyone at graduation, there were always posters about her around the school. This current year, the fall play, NC's True Colors Project, was a montage of skits based off essays that students wrote back in September. And the director specifically requested that Carissa submit an essay, though she was no longer a student, and her essay was pretty much guaranteed a spot in the performance.
This blog post is not to belittle everything she went through. She indeed overcame great odds in being able to graduate. But what about Bethany Oye? Why did she get no mention of her trials at graduation? Why wasn't she asked to submit an essay about her difficulties to the fall play?
Bethany also graduated from NC with the class of 2010. She was an intelligent student, a member of the band, my best friend, and she was unable to walk for about 4 1/2 months of her senior year, and it was 5 until she could walk on land. She was sick pretty much her entire senior year, as well as her sophomore and freshman years. I think she actually attended school for about 2 months her senior year.
I met Bethany through band my freshman year, her junior year, only inasmuch that I knew who she was. The summer after that year, I received a friend request from her on Facebook. I at least knew who she was, so I saw no reason to decline. We didn't talk, until about early to mid-December 2009, when I commented on a post asking why she was so down about things. I learned that she was sick, with a lot of diseases that are uncommon in people our age. I also learned that she had no visitors in the time she had been sick thus far. I became determined to be a friend to her when she needed one most.
In January of this year, 2010, she helped me through a very tough night. I was having some issues I'd rather not go into detail about, and she talked to me until something like 2 in the morning. She made me laugh and smile when I didn't want to do anything except be upset and hurt. It was at that point that I realized she had actually become my best friend. And we had not officially met face to face.
We hung out for the first time in February, and I became her first visitor. And she was suddenly unable to move her legs due to a nasty case of H1N1 mixed with her Fibromyalgia, and she was constantly in pain. I talked to her just about every night for quite a while, and did not hear any news of improvement until April or May.
Her counselor had excused her from her senior project, and she was working hard to catch up in all of her classes. But a week before graduation, she was informed that she still had to do the project, and she had 2 days to do so.
Well, she made the deadline, and was able to walk across the stage at graduation, but not without a cane. Her legs were still recovering.
Her doctors say she may never fully recover, but she can now walk without a cane or anything similar with ease, and her last physical therapy session is very soon.
But why is it that Bethany was forgotten by everyone? Why is it that everyone knows who Carissa Outen is, but people who were in Bethany's classes her senior year forget she was in there?
Why is it that I was the only person to visit her in 3 months (although eventually she did get other friends to visit) when she and I had only just met?