The New Year is a time to reflect on a year gone by and make plans and preparations for the upcoming year. One of the greatest blessings of humanity is the ability to recreate our lives, overcome and learn from adversity. Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow took the nation of Belize through a tsunami of emotions as she battled one of the toughest fight of her life. She brought cancer awareness to the forefront while excelling at her duties as Special Envoy for women and children. Please read her message below as she shares her fight, struggles, fears and successes.
Kim Simplis Barrow and daughter Salima Barrow
A YEAR I WILL NEVER FORGET… by: Kim Simplis Barrow
2012 is coming to an end and for many reasons it is a year I truly don’t mind putting behind me. As I sit here reflecting on the year that was, there is no denying that 2012 was a challenging one for me as I spent a great deal of it fighting for my life. I battled cancer the best way I could and just when it seemed that the victory could well be in sight, there was another major struggle to overcome. When I suffered heart failure at the end of May, I couldn’t help but ask, “what the hell is going on?” I really needed answers. Answers I really didn’t get, but I continued to fight and I also continued to hope and pray and believe. It was a tough year as I completed chemotherapy treatments, radiation, and restored my heart to an acceptable beating pulse after a very grim prognosis.
Despite the many adversities I had to face, many days I smiled! I smiled at the everyday miracles I experienced. My faith in the human spirit, the goodness and beauty in everything was ever so present. I am forever grateful for all the support and constant prayers that came and continue to come my way.
Yes, during 2012 I struggled with my health but nonetheless, I can gratefully say – it was a successful year. Oh yes it was! My daily inspiration: our beautiful Belizean children! They are the ones who gave me the strength and courage to keep working on my Special Envoy projects. This year I saw the budding fruits of my labours as after many years of planning and advocacy a number of things came together. The Inspiration Telethon was a complete success and construction of the Centre has started. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Prohibition Bill and the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Bill were approved by the Cabinet and passed through both the House of Representatives and the Senate with unanimous support. They are now just a signature away from becoming law. The drafting of amendments to the Criminal Code to increase penalties for perpetrators of sexual assault has started and we’re expecting that it will be passed into law in 2013. A few weeks ago we received the good news that the Challenge Gobie Foundation reached its million dollar mark for us to start construction on the first phase of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
And those are just the big highlights. There were many other victories: the annual launch of our Inspiration calendar and agendas, a very successful Annual Spirit of Christmas Concert that entertained over 300 children, the launch of several PSAs on sexual exploitation and child safety, increased public awareness on disabilities and cancer… just to name a few.
Overall, what I have learnt this year–indeed what I have lived this year–is that you don’t have to quit in the face of adversity, no matter how great a challenge! You should never give up no matter how horrible you feel, even if you are lying in the ICU! Life is many times ‘unfair’ and rough, we face unexpected events (cancer, job loss, death) but life doesn’t have to break us. WE MAKE LIFE!!!
That is my mantra: MY LIFE IS WHAT I MAKE IT! And in 2013 I intend to make it as rich and fulfilling as it can be; no matter the adversities, no matter the naysayers. I will continue to count my blessings, continue to cherish and support my loved ones, continue to appreciate my friends, continue my work on behalf of the children of this nation. And I will continue to look for the lessons as I face, head on, whatever challenge the new year may bring. I hope you will do the same!
Happy New Year to all! In the words of Afrobella I urge you to:
Slow down. Calm down. Look back at your year. Appreciate the journey you’ve made – the peaks and the valleys, the growth and the realizations. Be thankful for who you are, what you have, and the people who love you. Look forward to the upcoming year. Make plans that make sense for you, considering what you know you are capable of. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
I wish you peace, happiness, prosperity and love in 2013 no matter, or perhaps, despite what challenges may come your way!