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Experienced all and still going

Giving up is not an option

My name is Zina, I was born in Iraq and at the age of two months old, I contracted polio which caused my left leg to be paralyzed since. I went through surgeries, physical therapy which did not help instead I got a dislocated hip. In my teen years, I got scoliosis, I use a full leg brace and crutches to walk around. Years went by, I finished school got my college degree in a country where they look at people with disability, especially females, as useless. But I proved them wrong!

I got my degree in the English language which opened many doors for me in 2003 when the war happened, I tried to help people with disability through my job at NGOs. I worked in the United Nations as a Human Rights officer, also volunteering in a local radio station that empower women (Al-MAhaba radio Station ). You have to understand, it was a dangerous life when we were leaving our houses or our jobs we didn’t know if we are going to make it or not.

I came to the United States to get my master’s degree in Broadcast journalism through a scholarship from the UIUC College of Media my scoliosis got worse and I had to do risky surgeries. I had a 120 degrees curve in my spine. I took the risk and did the surgeries all alone without telling my family while I was at school. I knew they would try to convince me not to do it, but I did it and while I was recovering I got a blood clot.

I stayed in the USA, got a beautiful loving family of my own, I was faced with another challenge when I knew I was pregnant with Identical twins! It was a high-risk pregnancy, I did it all again without any family next to me other than a friend and my husband. In 2015 when the boys were two and a half years, I was diagnosed with AML Leukemia cancer. I was very angry BUT I fought and fought just because giving up is not an option for me. I overcame cancer, in fact, this is the fifth year for me that I am cancer-free. Life moves on with or without you, I choose life, I choose to be there. You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only option!

If I can do it, you can do it too. You just need to believe in yourself.