Tell us of a person who has had a significant influence on your life and describe the way in which this person has affected you.
He never complained. He loved to make people smile, he loved his family, and most importantly, he loved waking up to each new day. Shawn has become an inspiration to many, including myself, with his overwhelming strength. Most people look up to and admire adults such as parents, teachers or coaches, but for me, it was a boy, younger than I was who changed my life and made me view the world through a perspective I never thought possible. Shawn was born nine weeks early, and could fit in your hand like a newborn kitten. He was soon diagnosed with Congenital Toxoplasmosis, a very rare and deadly disease. The average life expectancy is six months. I can happily say that Shawn has beaten the odds and has lived to the age of sixteen. He is a true fighter who has taught me so much and changed my life for the better. His optimism has given me an opportunity to view life more optimistically as I have watched him struggle and overcome so much. Shawn has given me a new outlook on life and the strength to make important and better decisions for myself. He has made me realize that certain things going on in my life are trivial compared to what he has been through. This young boy has made me realize that every moment we have should be cherished and spent trying to better ourselves and each other as opposed to dwelling over the past or fretting over the small stuff. Knowing Shawn has changed my attitude towards life in general, as well as the way I view others. I now recognize the good in everyone and believe that everyone is capable of doing well and changing the world in their own way. Shawn has taught me to look past all the bad in the world, and see the good. He has made me a better person in all aspects and has opened my eyes to what really matters in life. Shawn’s profound impact on the way I live my life has also changed others, as I am now more helpful in my community, and strive to make a difference in the world through simple, everyday good deeds. What I have learned from Shawn’s legacy is the most important lesson I will ever learn, and will be my foundation for personal success.