Yesterday, I went to buy some fruit at the supermarket. At the till, I stood in a queue behind two ladies who were talking about a friend's new baby, and due to the basic laws of physics, there was no way I could avoid eavesdropping.
The short, overweight lady was briefing her taller, equally overweight friend with all the details.
"They say the baby has some eye problem. He's completely blind", the short one said.
"It's sad o", replied the tall one. "Some people's lives are ruined from birth. Even before he gets the chance to do anything, his whole life is condemned to darkness".
Eh? Is it even fair on the baby? To suffer such a huge blow from Day One?” The short one rejoined rhetorically. "If the mother had known, she could have even aborted the pregnancy and saved everyone the stress".
Now, I'm sure there are some of us who may see the logic in what these ladies were saying about their friend and her baby. It must be very difficult raising a child with disabilities in Ghana, where society never expects people with physical defects to amount to much. But how wrong we are to think that any disadvantage in life should rule out our chances of success.
Today, I want to tell you about a British girl called Laura. Laura was born in April 1992. She was born premature, with a collapsed lung. Now, let's put things in perspective. A human can live without eyesight, but not without the ability to breathe. Somehow, the doctors managed to save her, and her mother took the fragile little bundle of joy home.
Growing up, Laura was sheltered from all rigorous activity because her parents were concerned about her overworking her lungs. That was until a new doctor advised that she take up a new sport. The theory was that this would actually strengthen her lung. Laura's mother was sCeptical, but she herself had taken up cycling to keep in shape, and Laura had seemed interested. It seemed the safest bet, since they would be doing it together. If anything went remotely wrong, she would be right there to save her fragile daughter. If only she had known…
In 2008, when Laura was only sixteen years old, she came third in the Junior Sprint cycling event at the British National Track Championships. The following year, she came second in the 500m TT, and won the Individual Pursuit as well as the Points Race. For those two events, young Laura was now the best cyclist in Britain. The following year, she and her team won the European Team Pursuit event. At age 18, "fragile" little Laura was the best in Europe. She doubled her achievements in 2011 by winning the Omnium event as well as the Team Pursuit at the European Track Championships.
Then came 2012. That was when I saw Laura for the first time. Cycling was one of the events I had desperately wanted tickets to watch, but I wasn't so lucky. I ended up watching the races at home, but when Laura Trott won two gold medals for England, my entire street erupted with loud cheers and celebrations. The premature baby with the collapsed lung was now one of the greatest cyclists in the world.
My friends, what disadvantages did you start life with? Were you born poor? Are you an orphan? Did you go to a less endowed school? Did you get bad grades? What is your unfortunate situation? Do you think it gives you an excuse to fail? You may have been born under any manner of unfortunate circumstances, but if you think that gives you a reason not to go out there and be the best, then please remember Laura Trott. Today, she has an OBE from the Queen, for services to cycling. Roads, roundabouts training facilities, leisure centres and babies are being named after her. She is a role model to many, and a reminder to us all that there is no disadvantage in this world you can't overcome.
Laura Trott was born without the ability to breathe. Today, she has conquered the world. And she is only 23 years old. What's your excuse?
My name is Kojo Yankson, and with all the advantages God gave me, failure would be a crime.
GOOD MORNING GHANAFO!
- Akuapem Poloo granted ¢80k bail
- ECG releases ‘dumsor’ timetable; outages to begin May 10
- Murder suspect claims he mistook aeronautical engineer for a pig at Akyem Asuboa
- Akufo-Addo announces nominees for deputy ministerial positions, elevates Charles Adu-Boahen
- Kunbour mustn’t behave like a serial caller – Ade Coker
- Kasoa Opeikuma businessman killers arrested at Buduburam
- Contracts awarded to Zoomlion, Frontiers Healthcare Solution, others were in breach of procurement practices – Report
- Certify your Covid-19 Corruption Risk Assessment or we will use it as toilet paper – Ursula Owusu-Ekuful to CDA
- Kotoko to pay Maxwell Konadu $41,000 for breach of contract
- Ed Woodward resigns from Manchester United role
Get rich mentality driving youth into illegal mining – Dr Frank Boateng
Owning a home; consider actual purchase and recurrent expenditure
Philanthropist drills mechanised borehole for Saabisi Primary School in Upper East
My legal experience earned me deputy ministerial slot – Egyapa Mercer
‘We won’t accept such stories’ – Family of murdered aeronautical engineer reacts to suspects account
Aeronautic engineer was shot 12 times in the neck and chest; Family rejects account of 3 suspects
International Labour Organisation organizes workshop on how to raise funds for SMEs
George Floyd murder: Joe Biden says Derek Chauvin guilty verdict can be ‘moment of significant change’
Suspect who slit throat of girlfriend in Ho remanded in police custody
Eric Bonsu Agyabeng: Carnage on our roads – Tripod Beta perspective
Jerry Avornyotse: Traces of dictatorship creeping back to our democracy
George Floyd murder: Minneapolis police to face US federal probe
Police arrest 40 suspected criminals at Kasoa in Wednesday morning swoop
Build more gyms away from Accra – Bukom Banku to government
There is no scheme against Techiman City FC – Samuel Anim Addo