04/24/2012 04:14 pm ET Updated Jun 24, 2012

What Would You Do With A Second Chance?

This entry is part of a contest by HuffPost Books and The Buried Life. Click here to read more about it.

You never realize how precious life is that is until it's almost taken away. I realized that the day I suffered my stroke on Dec 12, 2011.

I was running on a treadmill at the local YMCA, like I always do. I am a state qualifying cross country runner so this was the norm for me. But when I stepped off of the tread mill something wasn't right and I was unable to walk. From there they called an ambulance and I was rushed to our local hospital. While there they administered TPA which is a clot buster, it was supposed to remove the clot in my brain that had formed and wasn't allowing blood flow to my brain. They flew me up to Rush University Hospital in Chicago. When I got there, there was no change in my state and they had to perform a procedure to remove the clot in my brain. My parents and my twin sister drove up to the hospital and stayed at my bed side the whole time I was in the ICU. My older brother who is a Marine was granted emergency family medical leave and was home within a day.

Within hours of my accident my Facebook page was full with words of encouragement from my family members, friends and school mates. My family would read them to me when I was actually awake but I was out of it most of the time. I spent a week in the hospital most of it in the ICU and then they transferred me to the stroke floor where I spent the rest of the week.
After a week in the hospital I was transferred to RIC which is the number one rehabilitation place in the country. There I spent a grueling week of relearning to walk, my arm/hand and speech. I was released on Christmas Eve morning. That Christmas was probably one of the best for my family.

After Christmas passed I then began my long road to recovery but from the comfort of my home. For three months my parents drove me one hour north Three days a week for therapy. There I worked on getting back running on the treadmill, re-teaching my hand how to do everyday things like doing my hair or tying my shoes and working on my memory and problem solving. Unfortunately this happened right in the middle of my senior so for half of my senior year I was at home, going to therapy, and going to tutoring trying to keep up on my school work. Sense we were traveling quite a distance my family received many donations from my school, my work, both my parents works, and even from complete strangers. Even local restaurants held benefits for me and my family to help offset the costs.

One of the many reasons I want to go on a mission trip is because I am so grateful that I live in a country where I was able to receive top notch care. I couldn't imagine what people in poor countries go through not knowing if they will get help. I remember lying in the hospital emergency room telling my mom that I didn't want to die, people in some of those countries feel like that every day, not knowing if they will get food or medical care. I want to give back because I received so much help I want to help others. God gave me a second chance at life and he did it for a reason and I think that that reason is to help people in need. If I can help one person or make one person's day a brighter day then I have done my job.
Not only has this inspired me to go on a mission trip but it has inspired me to go to nursing school.

This journey has made me realize that life is short. You're not always promised tomorrow so live for today. God has a plan for you, who may hit bumps in the road but he will get you through it.