Neenah Student Learns to Appreciate Life’s Opportunities


Photo by: Alyssa Sachs

Senior Gabby Belke acknowledges her unsettling reality and shares her insight.

Sophia Henning, Student of Journalism

As fluids rapidly flow down the IV drip and rush through her veins, Gabby Belke is finally sitting back to acknowledge her unsettling reality.

It is March 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic is on the rise. While everyone is racing to get the necessary supplies and realign their lives, Gabby is sitting in the one place nobody wants to be: the Children’s Hospital. 

“Experiencing a health scare is frightening especially when our communities are thrown into a situation where neither our generation or generations before us have experienced.” 

Going back several days, Gabby suspects that she caught another case of strep throat. Initially, doctors diagnose her with strep throat at Urgent Care; however her symptoms continue to worsen as days pass despite prescriptions given. 

For Gabby, every breath is like a marathon. Every inhale is instantly snatched from her before her body takes in the oxygen her body is desperately needing.

Over time, she realizes that she has suffered long enough. She goes to the ER and is quickly admitted to the hospital with mononucleosis, an infection wreaking havoc on her immune system while plunging it deeper into despair

As she sits in her hospital bed thinking through this personal setback, Gabby realizes that following her inner judgement will ultimately save her life. 

This realization is a result of her doctor breaking down her reality: “Soon after being admitted to the hospital, they tell me if I hadn’t come in the next hour, my chance of survival would dramatically change as the mono was ravaging my physical condition.”

Clearly, this experience teaches Gabby to take advantage of life’s opportunities. Life is too short to not appreciate every high and low as they play into who you become in the future.