Benjamin Franklin famously said, “He who is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
It was true when he said it and, unfortunately, it is still true today. It’s sad because far too many capable people accomplish next to nothing while lamenting that they “could’ve” or “should’ve” but they didn’t because… well it doesn’t matter because if you’re just going to offer an excuse, anything will do.
I was reminded of this quote because the world recently lost a special soul who didn’t make excuses and, as a result, lead an inspiring life, which inspired me to write this blog. I want to take a second to memorialize this unique example of what the human spirit can accomplish when it doesn’t surrender because their life speaks louder than any message in a blog ever could.
Most you will have never heard of this young woman but after this you will never be able to hide behind any excuse again. Many people are handed potential excuses through the experience of their lives, myself included, but this woman was born with hers. She was born with a terminal illness, Cystic Fibrosis. At the time of her birth in 1997 she was not expected to experience high school let alone her tenth birthday, but she did survive, all the way to age 13 when she suffered complete lung failure. She was put into a medially induced coma and given a 1% chance of survival.
She defied that excuse, waking up 16 days later and she made a choice. She chose to make her life count. She chose to be happy, to not feel sorry for herself and to be a positive influence in this world for as long as she was around. Admirable, but lots of us have a moment where we decide we’re going to do something special, only to fall back on our excuses the next day.
Not this young lady and consider the excuses she had to fall back on. She spent more than one-third of her life in hospital, she had dozens and dozens of major surgeries and had to endure a daily routine consisting of six plus hours a day of treatments, therapies and exercises just to have the hope of doing it all again tomorrow. If that wasn’t enough she also lived every moment with breathing tubes in her nose and an oxygen tank by her side. How many of you would have used those circumstances to justify taking the easy way out?
Well, not in this case. After awaking from her coma this young woman launched an inspirational speaking career, becoming a favorite at Ted talks and a star on YouTube while establishing and managing her own charity through which she helped dozens and dozens of families with terminally ill children get the support and funds they needed to cope.
Then, on August 26 th , 2018, she received a double lung transplant and the hope of living into adulthood. The transplant was successful but on September 2 nd , as she began to breath with her new lungs without life support she suffered a massive stroke and was lost but even that wasn’t an excuse. In the 24 hours immediately following her death, her kidneys were transplanted to two recipients and she saved their lives.
Her name was Claire Wineland and if you haven’t heard of her, you need to look her up and read her story.
Then ask yourself this, if Claire Wineland was able to accomplish so much despite facing odds most of us would never consider, what excuse can you offer now?