My recent posts speak a lot to adventure, dreams come true and living my dream life. During the pandemic I wrote quite a bit about grief, loss, resilience and hope. Life’s ebbs and flows for the able, healthy, incredibly blessed human that is me.
But what if you get dealt the kind of blow that turns your world upside down and inside out? The kind of tragic situation that is completely out of your control. That makes no sense. The kind of blow that breaks your body and has the potential to break your mind and spirit too. How do you come back from that kind of tragedy? What’s more, how do you come back from that kind of tragedy with graceful strength, determined courage and peace of spirit?
I have had the incredible privilege of meeting someone who can answer these questions. This is Shan 💜
I first heard Shan’s story from her brother.
Graham came into my life unexpectedly, shortly after I arrived back in South Africa adventure-bound. He and I are a couple of old souls now getting a chance to spend some of this life together. We share a similar connection to Nature and the same passion for wildlife conservation here in magical Mzansi. We also share the same love of adventure and have already had opportunity to travel together. A road trip with a kindred spirit can be the perfect way to genuinely connect and share story openly.
To take in Shan’s story shared through her loving brother’s voice was deeply moving. To then hear Shan’s story via her online presence was extraordinary. Shan and Gray have both graciously allowed me to share this story here.
My life’s journey has become entangled with the journeys of these two beautiful humans with extraordinary voices. One of these extraordinary voices speaks the same soul language as mine. The other extraordinary voice floors and inspires me with her beauty, grace and courage.
So, there are the big picture, philosophical aspects of Shan’s story. The aspects that speak to the tenacity of the human spirit in the face of such challenge. It’s these aspects that make up the focus of that famous quote from Viktor Frankl:
At the start of this post I pondered how do you come back from a circumstance like this? How do you survive becoming a quadruple amputee after sepsis sets in from a mongoose bite? I wonder if the answer is that you don’t. You don’t come back. I think Shan will tell you she didn’t come back. In her suffering and pain she was burned, purified, honed into a different version of herself. There is another great quote from Viktor Frankl that comes to mind here:
Shan does give light. In the short time I have known her, she has illuminated my life. I have been offered a different perspective on life from Shan’s light. I can also see the light she gives into her brother’s life. I see it in his eyes and hear it in the tone of his voice when he talks about her. And I am sure the inspiring content she posts online gives light to many.
But philosophical thinking aside, the day to day challenges of life need to be faced. There are the realities of living as a quad amputee and enduring the ongoing symptoms of post sepsis syndrome. Medical costs continue. Family and household costs continue.
As I write, Shan is undergoing yet another procedure. The next part of the lengthy process that will ultimately allow her to walk again. This procedure is happening across the country from where she lives. Her support system, in the form of her husband Ant, goes with her. There is time away from work necessary. There is time needed for recovery.
Put yourself in this position for a moment. How would you deal? Yet with all Shan faces over the next couple of weeks, she returns my messages with requests for detail to pen this story with dignity, kindness and grace.
For those of you reading who do not live in South Africa, I need to try and convey that there is very limited government support in a situation like this. Social services are pretty much non-existent here. Shan’s wellbeing and quality of life is largely determined by financial support she can gain through the generosity of others.
How to help? Honestly, the most practical support we can offer is monetary. So this is my request for donations. Please help ease the financial burden if you can. Every little bit counts and your support is very much appreciated.
Another way to help is to pass this story forward. Let’s continue to share this awesome story of Shan Living Life. This story of one incredibly determined woman who still has a lot of light to give in her beautiful and courageous way. I am honoured to share her story with you….
Details of how to donate…..
The Shaninlea Visser Special Disability Trust 💜
Acc Type : Trust
Branch : 250655
Swift Code; FIRNZAJJ
Please note this Trust is audited annually. If you require a donation certificate, one can be arranged.
Support Shan so she can keep Living Life and Giving Light 💜