In her own words: 17-year-old Katherine Robinson
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Posted by: jennifer punch
Retrieved from: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/02/in_her_own_words_katherine_rob.html
Katherine Robinson tells, in her own words, why she undertook a project to help preemies in the Crouse Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and how being a micro-preemie has affected her. Her account appeared on the Crouse Hospital website.
Michelle Gabel/The Post-StandardKatherine Robinson, 17, of Oswego, was born a preemie at Crouse Hospital. She collected 400 hats, blankets and booties for preemies at the hospital during a Hats for Hope campaign.
By Katherine Robinson
One pound, 15-and-a-half ounces; 893 grams; exactly one box of General Mills Fiber One Honey Clusters Cereal; 7½ cups of flour; or 19 golf balls. An experience that has both challenged me and resulted in personal growth I had encountered very early on in my life; it happens to be the day I was born.
For unknown reasons, I was born 3½ months early, weighing a mere 1 pound, 15½ ounces. The impact that this has had on my growing up is nearly unimaginable. I was faced with challenges that the majority of children my age did not have to overcome. At birth, I was 14 inches long, weighed 1½ pounds and spent the first five months of my life in the hospital fighting for my life. Once home, I was on oxygen, a heart monitor, round-the-clock medical treatments and had nurses to help care for me, giving my parents an opportunity to rest.
Growing up, I experienced differences and countless challenges that the greater majority of my peers did not encounter. One of the differences that had a profound effect on me occurred during my years in elementary school.
For seven years, I was taken out of my classroom two to three times a week for physical, speech and occupational therapy. I was often embarrassed and didn’t understand why I had differences and had to go to these sessions. In my eyes, I was just like every other child in my classroom, granted I was significantly shorter and underweight, but I strongly disliked going to these sessions where I felt anything but normal.
I was treated differently in many ways due to my size. My capabilities in many areas were often underestimated because I was prejudged (about) my physical appearance. I looked two to three years younger than I really was. Furthermore, I was limited to activities that I could participate in due to premature birth.
At 10 years old, weighing a mere 55 pounds, and about 4 feet, 7 inches, I told my parents I wanted to play basketball. My parents supported my decision, and I played for many years as a point guard and was very quick on defense.
Despite my significant decreased lung function due to my premature birth, I pursued running in middle school, where I participated in both cross country and track. There, size was not an obstacle. Despite my size, I overcame daily obstacles and achieved goals that were once thought to be unachievable.
However, there was one activity that I started at 5 years old and have continued to engage in throughout high school: Girl Scouting. Any girl can be a Girl Scout, where no girl faces obstacles and everyone is always welcome.
Continuing Girl Scouting throughout middle school and high school, as most girls do not, I have learned many life skills. Not only have I developed immense skills in leadership, teamwork, communication and organization, I fully realize that making a difference can be a very simple act, which has a very large impact on the world.
Over my 12 years of volunteering and Girl Scout adventures, one experience in Girl Scouting has significantly changed my life: working toward and achieving my Girl Scout Gold Award. To make a lasting impact on my community, I chose a project that was close to my heart. I coordinated a community-wide knitting and crocheting project and gathered over 300 hats, blankets and booties to send to "micro-preemie” infants and their families within the greater Oswego community and Central New York.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is achieved by only two percent of Girl Scouts nationwide and requires hundreds of hours of work, community service and dedication to complete. Completing this project is not the end of a process, but only the beginning, to make a difference in the lives of infants and their families, as it has made a difference in my life, as well.