Survivor Hollie Vilandre This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Anyone can be a hero and everyone should have one. A hero is a mentor. A hero is motivated. Heroes are those who inspire, who give you strength and, especially, faith.

My hero is only 20 years old. Hollie Vilandre is one of my sister's close friends, and while at college she came down with meningococcal meningitis, a disease that causes a swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. She thought she had the flu, but when she collapsed, she knew it was no simple bug. She was in Intensive Care for months.

Studies by the American College Health Association have shown that meningococcal disease infects about 3,000 Americans each year, with a ten percent fatality rate.

One reason Hollie might have survived is her excellent physical condition: she played many sports in high school. Although she is still alive, she has gone through many traumatic things along the way. She has had both legs amputated below the knee, a number of surgeries, and all five fingers on her left hand removed to the knuckle.

Her story is one of faith, bravery and never-ending love. Without the support of family and friends, I doubt she would have made it this far. Those closest to her say she is as enthusiastic and energetic as a kid who has had too much sugar. Hollie continues to have an I've-got-a-great-life-and-wouldn't-trade-it-for-anything attitude.

Although Hollie has overcome a huge obstacle, she still faces a long road to recovery. She dreams of walking again and finishing college. She has repeatedly told her father that she won't need to use the ramp they built outside her church because someday she will walk up the stairs and into the church. She is unstoppable. I look up to her because she never lost her faith or gave up. She took a deadly disease head-on and won.

"Hero" sounds like such a broad term, but those who have one know exactly what they are.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 10:00 am
i love this so much!
MaysJosefina31 said...
Jul. 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm
Some time ago, I needed to buy a car for my firm but I did not earn enough cash and could not buy something. Thank heaven my mother suggested to try to get the credit loans from reliable creditors. Thence, I did that and used to be satisfied with my short term loan.
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