Thursday, April 20, 2017
Emmy award winning author of Laughing at my Nightmare Shane Burcaw came to share his experiences with Lake Forest students. His message of remaining positive in the face of challenges resonated as he shared his experiences living with spinal muscular atrophy. His disease is gradually taking away his strength, his voice and his ability to breathe. In spite of his daily challenges, he showed through humorous anecdotes from his life how he changed his outlook by laughing and remaining positive. From a young age he has not allowed his circumstances to stop him… like the time he tried to use his wheelchair and a very long rope to lift his brother pulley-style to a basketball hoop to make a slam dunk.
Mr. Burcaw also shared research about how choice can positively affect one’s emotions. Examples from his experiences illustrated the ways intentional activities- behavioral, cognitive and goal-oriented- can reframe one’s outlook. A mortifyingly embarrassing middle-school moment transforms into a lesson about asking for help: “Asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a person. It helps you reach your fullest potential.” Coming from Mr. Burcaw with his own extraordinary story of overcoming difficulty, with humor, our Lake Forest students got the real deal. His message and presence left the audience inspired, uplifted, reflective: “Despite all challenges I face, my life is … beautiful.”