Welcome to Summer '16 Scholarship



Topic: Please submit a 'visual poem', in a style of your choosing, on the theme of overcoming a personal challenge.

Statement from 1800wheelchair

1800wheelchair is very proud to announce the winner of our Spring '16/Summer '16 scholarship contest. With well over 400 entries, this one stood apart for its arresting visuals and its compelling story.

Winning Submission: Personal Statement

The inspiration behind this poem are the struggles I have had to deal with going through life being handicapped. My teenage years were spent in hospitals trying to stabilize me. When I was ten years old I was on the brink of death after I had a massive stroke that paralyzed my right side. The next seventy-two hours was truly a game of trying to keep me alive. I kept blacking out, I was, for the most part comatose. After those seventy-two hours I had to retrain my brain on everything, it was like I was starting from scratch as a new born baby. I had to learn how to eat, talk, walk, read and write all over again. My life was turned upside down and inside out and to top it off I did not understand half of what the doctors were saying, given that I was only ten.

When I was finally able to go back to school, half the year had already gone by. I had lost my hair due to chemo, and I had gained around seventy pounds due to all of the steroids I was taking. The friends I had since kindergarten did not know what to say to me so they just did not say anything at all to me. I became a recluse for the next ten years.

In the following years I had blood clots shooting into my brain, two major brain surgeries with a mini stroke, also known as a TIA, in between them. I got seizures from stress caused because my father making my mother and me run from everything we had known and putting two states in between us and his abusiveness. I went into a major depression after my mother and I moved away from my father. When I was nineteen I got the shingles from once again stress, however this time it was because my mother nearly flatlined after her knee replacement because she had a blood clot in her lungs.

My life has been one giant rollercoaster from the day I had my stroke when I was ten years old, to the serious depression I went through from the age of 16 to 20. I have had to battle for my life more times than I care to count. I have had my emotions thrown out the window of a fighter jet and me going after them. I have realized that finding the little joys throughout the day is the best medicine.

I have been through more hard times than I wish on anyone. Even though I have looked death in the eyes one to many times, I have come out on the other side a different person then I was going in. I have come out happier than ever with dreams to fulfill and as I said in my poem I would not give up any of the hardships I have had to struggle with for they have made me who I am today, a bright and smiling person ready for whatever the world throws at her.


Winning Submission: Poem

What Matters Most


I am twenty-one

And have had to overcome more obstacles

Than any child should

I have had medical problems

After medical problems

After medical problems

But I have come out all right.


I have had to deal with being different

For the better part of my life.

I have had a stroke

At the meager age of ten

Blood clots at twelve

Brain surgery, epilepsy, and shingles

All before the age of twenty

But I have turned out all right.


Before I was 20 I was sad

For four years

But that is now in the past

With a happier and brighter me

Full of hope and dreams

Of the future.


Everyone gets sad

At some point in their life

It is a part of being human.


I have emerged on the other side

Stronger and brighter than ever before.

And it all has to do

With my state of mind,


Everyone has bumps in the road

That they have to work through,

These are mine,

And I wouldn’t trade them for the world

Fore they have made me who I am today

And that is all that matters.