Commit for Life Blog

A true inspiration to us all

It might be just another week for most of us, but for a Milby High School student I met last week, it is anything but.

At only 16 years old, Carmen Ramos completed her 37th surgery earlier this week.  If you do the math, that’s more than two surgeries a year. For most, undergoing so many surgeries would hurt the morale and a smile would be close to impossible, but not for Carmen.

You see, although Carmen is a paraplegic and has been wheelchair-bound since she was 3, she will quickly remind you that there is much more than meets the eye.

Carmen Rios with her mother and counselor.
Carmen Ramos with her mother and counselor.

Ask her what she wants to be when she grows up; she’ll say a counselor because although she can’t walk she can definitely talk. Her ultimate mission she says would be to help people just like her.

For years in fact, Carmen has been giving to those less fortunate, donating her old equipment and used wheelchairs. I’m sure those children look at her and see an angel, but unfortunately, when others see her they only see “the girl in the wheelchair”. And, that Carmen told me was exactly what she wanted to change when she started the blood drive.

After talking to her school counselor, Rene Gonzalez, I learned that Carmen knew she had a surgery coming up and much like her previous surgeries, she was going to need several blood transfusions. So, to help replenish the blood she would be using, she asked Rene and the HOSA students to host a blood drive to help patients just like her.

The Milby students came in droves to donate as they have several times in the past. But, this time as I walked around, I asked them why they were donating today. Many answered, because of Carmen. While most don’t know her personally they now know her story. Some I even noticed walking up to Carmen to ask her about her upcoming surgery.

I was truly touched to see how someone her age facing so many difficulties can still look at life with optimism and want to live it to the fullest.

In the end, because of Carmen and the dozens of students who donated, more than 200 lives were saved. A number I’m sure Carmen will be sharing with others for a very long time.

All across the Texas Gulf Coast there are thousands of patients just like Carmen who are using their challenges to make a difference. Do you know one?

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