Quite recently I read a story on an Instagram page shared by a girl named Hasitha Illa. I saw that the girl in a wheelchair giving absolutely delightful motivational talks and found out that she’s a passionate blogger and YouTuber as well. I immediately reached out to her and requested her to share her story on WonderfulWoman. Fortunately this supremely talented but equally humble girl agreed to it. So here my friends I am presenting Hasitha’s story with all of you written in her own words. Read and get inspired to ask for more in life.
Giving Up is Never an Option in Life
My name is Hasitha Illa and I have Btech in biotechnology. My passion for writing has led me to start my own blog and my courageous attitude led me to deliver motivational speeches. Along with this I make YouTube videos! But, what is that story which people keep wondering? It is my life with a disability.
As a child, I was the cutest and bubbliest kid there. Wherever I went, I would have many fans, and I even got a marriage proposal from a foreigner at that young age. On the other hand my mom who would not lose a single opportunity to take a photo of me. I would join any conversation, even if it is just for a laugh and I’d be surrounded by smiles. My characteristics had fulfilled the meaning of my name. I used to be busy with a lot of activities like Karate, Gymnastics, Swimming, etc.
As I got older, I noticed a few changes. One day I abruptly started to limp, which left my parents worried. I started dropping plates due to imbalance. My childhood, which was supposed to be filled with parks and games, was packed with hospital visits. The one sport which I was passionate about, football, had to be discontinued due to my sudden physical transformations.
I was diagnosed with a rare and progressive disease that has no cure. It is called Friedreich’s ataxia.
Since I was young, I became heartbroken. And when people started bullying me for the way I moved around and when they started to treat me differently was when I got self-conscious. Although there were people like my parents who gave me constant support, I found myself focusing on the negatives. This did no good to me, except, dragged me into depression. Violin was one instrument that I learned passionately from the third grade but left it angrily because I did not believe in myself. I would isolate myself during the day and cry myself to sleep at night. I would distract my thoughts by concentrating on my studies, but when I was free, it was not okay. The ‘Hasi’ in Hasitha was becoming absent.
Everyone waits for birthday but I would not because, with each birthday passing, my disease was progressing along with it. During that time I walked with the support of others. But there came a point in my life where I needed the wheelchair, but I was reluctant to. I disliked the sudden attention it gave me and the way people stared made me uncomfortable. Most of all, I hated taking photos in it so, I was always ready to take that extra sweat to avoid it. The thought of me being in a wheelchair crushed me.
While I was in this condition of mind, my parents were heartbroken even more!!! It was during that time when my mom decided that nothing matters more than our mental health. She decided to introduce me to meditation. I was skeptical at first, but in the end, I joined for the sake of making my mother happy. The first thing I noticed there was a loving, positive, and motivating atmosphere. The relaxation techniques they did were soothing to my body and rejuvenated my soul. It helped me embark on a journey of self-change. Along with giving me calm and peace, meditation helped give me self confidence.
This gave me the courage to participate in the Miss Wheelchair India pageant, where people proudly showcase their abilities. In addition, it helped me unravel my hidden talents. I have caught the sudden interest to write and this opened new doors for me. I started to write a blog talking about my struggles to inspire many. I joined my college’s hostel in Pune and completed it. I was able to successfully complete my project in CCMB, Hyderabad, and gave an inspiring speech with Shankar Mahadevan. I even got an award called the women empowerment award for all my efforts as a blogger.
All my achievements make me super happy and I have learned in the course of life that all of us have some or other difficulties in life. But they should not bring us down. In fact, we can take that as a challenge and win. Because in the end, how we actually win over the hurdles, is what makes us who we are. Now I wake up every day thanking God for giving me, such a wonderful family and supportive friends.
Life tries to teach us lessons in the most unexpected ways as it did to me when I was diagnosed with a rare and progressive neurological disease that has no cure. Certain situations like these can potentially crush a human being from the inside. However, everyone can reach that ‘turning point’ in life where you start accepting and move on with your normal life. Remember, giving up is never an option in life!