From Patient to Paradigm

How triumph can spread hope through the voice of a young girl.

By Miranda House

Every day, a shocking 42,000 patients get admitted into the hospital, for one reason or another. Whether it be broken bones, viruses, or whatever, the ER never stops seeing desperate patients. A few years back, sophomore Melinda Walker was innocently using a treadmill, a common tool that seems completely safe to users, when tragedy struck. Walker slipped off the conveyor belt and was pulled underneath the treadmill. She was stuck for 30 seconds to a minute before she was able to get free. She suffered third degree burns on her leg and stomach, and second degree burns on her arm, for which she needed a skin graft. This is no simple procedure – it takes roughly two to three weeks just to heal the donor skin area. Since then, however, Melinda has been titled an ambassador for the hospital, speaking at burn camps and talking to affected families. “It makes me a better person. I’ve learned a lot of people skills, and it gives me joy and happiness,” Walker said. “It’s fun talking to the families and showing them how I turned out.”

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Melinda is loved by everyone she comes across. She spreads joy in her life and puts a smile on the faces of all her peers. “Melinda and I were pretty close in middle school. Her witty sarcasm makes you laugh and she genuinely cares about others,” sophomore Henry Daniels said. “She makes the world happy.”

Every day she walks into school with a grin from ear to ear, and never lets her injuries affect her as a person. One would almost think Walker was an ambassador for the school, and not just the hospital.

Melinda’s treadmill incident may have left her with some scars on the surface, but deep down she’s stronger than ever. She inspires her fellow burn victims, and gives the patients hope. Walker should be a role model for all – a true advocate of perseverance. Her peers have nothing but nice words to say about her, and she shines a light of faith. She wears her scars with pride and the knowledge that she can overcome any obstacle thrown her way.

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