My Teacher...My Friend

Hi! My name is Leeah, and I want to tell you about my friend. Katie is different from everyone else I know; she's physically disabled and  her left arm is very short. Her arm ends about where my elbow is on my arm. 

This friend of mine has two special qualities. She can swim like a fish, and she knows what's important about life.  I have been swimming at the Warringah Piranahs Swim Club in Sydney, Australia for a little over five years and for that whole time I have watched Katie become a dedicated and focussed young  women. An incredible young woman who has taught me so much! 

Recently I watched with tears in my eyes as Katie proudly showed  a bunch of us a certificate that said she had broken a world record. Can you believe that? She just had so much faith in herself. 

Katie also participates in a lot of other highly competitive sports including surf life saving, representing her club in state and national competitions. She's an ambassador for her swim club as well, showing disabled and younger swimmers how they too can reach for the stars, just like she's doing. 

Katie is only 15. It is to her I give great thanks for  making me more aware that people with diseases and problems aren't different from the rest of us in the really important ways. I'm 13, and I have learned about life through her. I understand all of the trauma that she's had to endure, yet she tackled her goals anyway. 

I hope that you'll get to meet a person as neat as Katie, and that you'll discover, like I did, what makes a person truly beautiful! 

To the frog ponds
   Send Leeah a note
To the site map


Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 15, 2004