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Sydney Truett
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Sydney Truett
University of Colorado Boulder

Weighing in at 1 ½ pounds and measuring the size of a soda can, I was one of the smallest babies born alive 17 years ago at Lutheran General Hospital. My hands were so tiny they could fit through my dad’s wedding ring and my entire body could fit in the palm of his hand. At just 24 weeks gestation, I came into this world as what doctors call a “micro-preemie”, the tiniest of all babies born on the brink of survivability. At this stage in development, my skin was still translucent and my eyes fused shut, resembling an image on an ultrasound picture rather than a newborn baby. And, I was not a typical micro-preemie. I had been living in the womb with very little amniotic fluid and deprived of oxygen for an unknown amount of time. I entered this world fast and fierce. Standard hospital procedure is to take a baby by C-section when the situation is dire to avoid traumatic injury to the still forming brain. There was no time for surgery, and I was not expected to survive. Surrounded by the NICU team, I arrived on December 21, 1999, four months before my due date. To everyone’s amazement I was alive, but my outlook was grim. I now had a 20% survival rate and 80% chance of having a major disability. I was about to face the fiercest battle of my life. For the next 100 days I laid helplessly in an incubator, hooked up to a respirator to compensate for my underdeveloped lungs, while the doctors medically recreated my life outside of the womb. I began to surpass major milestone one-by-one—surviving past week one, coming off life support, and reaching two pounds. However, my family celebrated with great trepidation, wondering what bad news hid around the corner and this news came often—sepsis, pneumonia and more. I was so critical at times that my parents were called in to say goodbye. Yet, I defied all odds and on April 1, 2000, after 100 days in the NICU, I left weighing just 3 ½ pounds. I had won the battle of my life and I was not just a survivor, I was a warrior. Fast forward seventeen years and the only physical sign of any battle scars is a tiny mark on my hand where my first IV was inserted. To everyone’s surprise, I walked away from this completely unscathed and am now a happy and healthy teenager. I am a two-sport athlete, hold two jobs, and get good grades. I am a constant reminder to my family that life is precious, and 
nothing should be taken for granted. I have been raised to be compassionate, dedicated, and hard-working and these are the values I live my life by. Today I have no memory of my early struggles, but I am often reminded by pictures and the endless letters of encouragement in my scrapbook. Maybe it was the courage of my family that saved my life or the miraculous work of the NICU team, but I do know the first 100 days of my life are what shaped who I am today.  As I prepare for the University of Colorado Boulder, I know that in the next chapter of my life I want to continue working in the field of medicine, giving back to a profession that gave me the gift of life. Currently, I am majoring in Molecular and Cellular Developmental Biology. In the future, I hope to pursue a career as a physicians assistant. After earning a bachelor's degree, I wish to attend a 2 year masters program in physicians assistant studies. By following this career path as a physicians assistant, I would be working in collaboration with a licensed physician to provide medical care to patients. From this 2 year program, many PA’s choose to specialize in a field of medicine. When I become a physician's assistant in the future, I hope to specialize in the pediatrics intensive care unit, or PICU. A speciality like this one would allow me to achieve my goals of treating children who were just like me.  
 
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