People Solutions
Perseverance and Grit
12/7/18

I think it is safe to say that most of us are truly inspired when we hear the story of someone who has persevered against all odds in life. So, when we heard about a special young lady named Camryn Detrick from our client friend and her dad, Norm Detrick, we knew it was a story our readers would enjoy and benefit from reading. After interviewing both Norm and Camryn, I thought long and hard about how to best share their story with you. If you are like me and things in life have come relatively easy, it is hard to have any idea of how ongoing health challenges affect every aspect of living. We look to other's successes in overcoming obstacles to inspire us today and maybe prepare us if we one day face the same. If you or someone you love has been tested by something similar, then Camryn's story will reaffirm what you have already learned and inspire you to continue to persevere. 

- Beth Paluch
The First Hurdle

Camyrn was always a creative, energetic and very intelligent little girl, so, when her parents received a call from her second-grade teacher, it was a bit of a surprise. The teacher explained that she suspected dyslexia, and learning to read would be an uphill battle for Camryn. For the next four years she was in a special classroom and worked tirelessly learning to adjust, adapt, and finally conquer the challenge of learning to read on the same level with her peers with another six years of special tutoring. Getting the words to make sense was her first opportunity to persevere, but it certainly was not her last.
 
We asked Camryn how she battled feeling different from her peers in school and she responded,

Honestly, I always felt different in class; however, knowing that I was smart in other areas gave me more confidence when it came to school. I was always in the IEP (Individual Educational Program) classes, therefore it was impossible to escape the notion I was different, but knowing that it was only the fact that I could not read that was keeping me "down" from my academic ability allowed me to focus on that task in order for me to succeed in the other areas. I was not going to let reading hold me back from math and science.

My dad has always told me I was born a fighter. I could not tell you a specific moment that I made a personal choice to own my fight; to me that was just the only option that came to mind. Conquering the battle has always been the only option that seemed viable to me. Taking the easy way out just to fit in was not an option, I refused to let a small difference in how my brain worked dictate my life and education.
Perseverance and Grit

About the time Camryn conquered the challenge of dyslexia and was moved to a regular classroom, she experienced a severe and unexplained case of vertigo. Vertigo is an inner-ear condition that causes sensations of spinning, dizziness and nausea. Searching to find answers, Camryn and her parents began a journey that would take them several years and to more than 30 doctors in Northeast Ohio and across the country, through a barrage of grueling and unimaginable tests and ultimately brain surgery that insurance wouldn't pay for because it was leading-edge medicine. 

Now, it is easy to imagine parents with perseverance to find a health solution for their child but a little harder to see a young person, now a teenager, with the grit and vision to know she not only would get past this, but she would keep up with her school work in the process!

Perseverance is a very important character trait that everyone needs to some degree to be successful in life. Some people, like Camryn, are faced with challenges so great they require more perseverance than a group of us combined. Perseverance means having the determination to work hard regardless of any odds or obstacles that may exist. It means to insist on improvement and to have a firm resolve to get something done without giving up. Perseverance is the steadfast pursuit of a task, mission, or journey in spite of obstacles, discouragement, or distraction. In contrast, grit is argued to be a trait of perseverance. Grit enables an individual to persevere in accomplishing a goal despite obstacles over an extended period. Camryn has both!

School has always been very important to me. From a young age, I realized the importance of education. I have always had to work harder than everyone else because of my dyslexia, so working harder than everyone else because of my illness was almost second nature for me. Graduating on time was always something that was non-negotiable for me. Frankly, graduating on time with honors was non-negotiable as well. I refused to let my circumstance dictate if I would perform at my best. I have always wanted to go to a good college, and graduating with honors was how that was accomplished; therefore that's what I did.
Against the Odds!

After three inner-ear surgeries and two craniotomies (brain surgeries), Camryn had a miracle recovery from her inner ear problems, thanks to her surgeon, Dr. Gianoli with the Ear and Balance Institute. Camryn's health challenges continued, unfortunately, as she later suffered chronic allergies in her senior year of high school and missed 75% of her classes. Unable to accept this as a excuse to finish less than her best, she drove herself from home and finished on time with her classmates.

There was no time to feel sorry for myself. There was always something new that was popping up that needed my full attention, whether it was a different diagnosis or school work. However, in the rare times I had a "breather" it was really hard. I am not going to act like it wasn't. It was hard, painful, and really lonely. But whenever I started feeling bad about myself, normally something new would pop up that would distract me.

I tried to take each day as it came. I was not able to plan in advance because I did not know how I was going to feel and if I was going to have to go to the ER or not. I took one day at a time because that was all I had. All I could do was faithfully handle each day the way it was presented to me. I had to trust that what I was going through was going to be used for God's glory one day and frankly my suffering was not about me. It was always about how God would use my life to help others.

Camryn graduated with honors and received a full-ride scholarship to college. Today she is a freshman at Moody Bible College and is working toward a degree in theology with the intent to be a professor. When asked what other personal insight she might want to add for our readers, Camryn's response made me realize why her story is so important to share. Through this amazing young woman, we can learn not only about grit and perseverance but, more importantly, about the interest, compassion and understanding we can offer others as they suffer.
People should be more aware of other's suffering. Small things make such a big difference. You may not know "the right thing" to say, but just try. Making an effort to let someone know you care about them goes a long way. Visiting someone in the hospital can change their entire mindset on their situation. You do not have to be able to cure someone, but at least make them feel like they have someone. When I talk to other people who have chronic illnesses, the most common thing I hear is that people just don't want to be feel invisible. With chronic illnesses, you normally cannot even tell the person is sick. So, make some sort of an effort to let a person know they are not going through this alone. 
Everyone who is suffering, no matter what they are going through, matters and  can make a difference to others through the experience, as well. Make the most out of what you are going through, joke with nurses or talk to the person in the room next to yours. You don't have to feel sorry for yourself. You are in the situation you are in for a reason.
What About You and Me?

Though the struggles could have been overwhelming, Camryn stayed focused and determined to do her very best against all odds. Unlike her example, we might feel sorry for ourselves or even find ourselves in a great place and still be waiting for or expecting an opportunity to feel like a victim, providing us with an excuse to fall short of achieving great things. Rather than moving forward and welcoming distraction from our troubles, we can quickly identify something that gives us a free pass from putting in the effort that is needed. As we have learned in Camryn's story of overcoming obstacles, it takes true, committed effort to beat the odds, and I hope just reading her thoughts and considering her example will help you and me choose to make the effort needed to make ourselves better, to make a real contribution to our company, our family or our community, and to set an example that makes a difference in the lives of others. 

People Solutions is sponsored by the Smart Companies



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Quotes

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."
- Marie Curie
 
"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."
- John D. Rockefeller

"Grit is sticking with your future day in, day out and not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years." 
- Angela Lee Duckworth

"Over time, grit is what separates fruitful lives from aimlessness." 
- John Ortberg
 
"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit."
- Napoleon Hill
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