Stephanie’s Story

By Stephanie Paseornek

When I was a child, I used to sit in my room and write for hours. In my notebook, I was anywhere and everywhere. Soaring above my eight-year-old body, I found a place for myself – a place amongst words. Writing gave me wings. It made me feel free.

When I was sixteen years old, I unexpectedly went through severe heart failure. After waking up from a month-long induced coma, my UCLA doctors told me that in order to survive, I would need a heart transplant. I was stuck in a room with four blinding white walls, tethered to machines on full life support. In the process of suffering, with death just around the bend, I made the conscious choice to continue. I asked my parents if there was any way I could write. I knew in order to find strength I needed the tools to soar above my sixteen year old body, and I needed words to set me free.

My time spent in the hospital was a time spent between life and death. All of my organs failed and my parents were told to “prepare for the worst” every day for months. During this time, my brain drifted [...] continue the story