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Brother Christian L. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Picture being a smart, athletic and articulate teenager with a bright future. Then imagine having that all taken away.

When my brother Christian was a freshman in high school, he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that would leave him with a weakness on his right side. He would no longer be able to play the sports he loved, and he had to teach himself to write with his left hand.

When he heard the news, he was shocked. For a while he was sad, but then he decided to make the best of it. He wanted to make something of himself and kept a positive attitude. Every time he saw someone he knew at school, he would slap them a high-five. This became his trademark and often made him late for class, but his teachers understood.

He developed the "Lewie Handshake," which he taught everyone he saw. By the time he was a junior, everyone knew him and his famous handshake.

We started to notice deterioration in his mobility and his ability to talk. He was no longer able to read. The doctor said the disease had spread to other parts of his brain. Then the doctor told us this couldn't be the disease he was diagnosed with, and he had no idea what it was. He would slowly get worse until either a cure was found, or, I suppose, he would die. This was another rattle to his cage, but he continued to live as normal a life as possible.

Then the day of his first seizure came and scared everyone. We knew then that he would need to be watched very carefully. Not being able to talk was hard, but he found ways to interact. His famous quotes most people knew him for are "Oh yeah, baby!" or "You da man!" or "You're the best!" This was all he could say, but with these phrases he brightened the day for many.

The day he graduated from high school was the greatest moment of his life. He had gotten through four years that many healthy people struggle with because he was determined. He left with the respect of all his classmates and teachers.

I admire Christian most for his positive attitude. He has changed many people's perspectives on life. His whole world has been turned upside down, yet he continues to fight. Every time he meets people, he brings a smile to their face. Medically, he has been through every test imaginable and still remains undiagnosed. Christian continues to make the world a better place, and I love him.

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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