Michael Moore graduated from WWU in 2016 with a degree in business accounting. He is currently working as director of operations at AdventHealth Fish Memorial in Orange City, Florida.
I put my hands on my knees. This challenge was going to be the hardest I had ever encountered. It was evident that I was outmatched. I had never been through anything like this before. Suddenly, peace and calm washed over me. It was going to be okay. I would make it through. And I would not knock the bar down. I took off running, quickly approaching the high jump beam. After watching the older kids do it, I was confident I had figured out the best form. I turned at the last second with my back to the beam and jumped, head first, backwards over the bar. As I came down, I felt a slight bump of my feet hitting the bar. As I hit the mat, I looked up to see the bar wiggling, anticipating it would bounce off. I laid there for 5 seconds, ensuring that I hadn’t knocked it down. It stayed! I had won the high jump competition!
My competitor, about 4 inches taller in the 5th grade, came over to congratulate me. To date (May 2005) this was the greatest athletic achievement I had ever accomplished. I was on cloud nine. I put on my medal proudly and traveled home to tell my parents. That moment made me believe I could do anything. It was hard to imagine that I would come back down from this high (pun intended). Sometimes, though, the bar comes crashing down with you. Sometimes the height is just too high. No matter what you do, how you think about it, or even if you have the correct form, trouble can show up like a bar bent in the shape of a “V.”
After my athletic feat, I noticed myself starting to slow down. When my mother and I went bike riding on the River Trail, I was struggling to keep up. I was constantly hungry and thirsty, and the bathroom visits became more frequent. I grew up in a family of healthcare professionals, so it did not take long for these issues to cause concern. My parents scheduled an appointment with my pediatrician before school.
There are snapshots of my experience that stick with me to this day. I remember my pediatrician coming into the room, misty-eyed, and saying a weird word. “Diabetes.” The word made both of my parents cry. I became concerned as I watched my father show such a strong emotion. But it was obvious that this new word was going to reshape my life in many ways. From that moment, everything was a blur. I went from ambulance to airplane to ambulance and arrived in Sacramento, California, for treatment at Sutter Medical Center. This involved lots of wires, blood sugar checks, training on insulin administration, nutrition, and more than enough time staring at the white ceiling.
On one of the last days in the hospital, I was able to make a friend named Joey, who had also been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. His family was there too. You could feel the healing in the room as bonding happened between kids and parents. It was a sigh of relief to find others who were dealing with the same anxiety and worry, and to discuss together how to best move forward. Looking back now, I am extremely thankful for that support system who got me through the whole ordeal.
Healthcare was never far from my mind after this experience. Everyday decisions now had to include consideration of my health. This required planning and consistency. When it came time for a decision on a major in college, as well as an internship program, Healthcare Administration became one of my goals. I knew I did not have the scientific interests or skills to be a clinician, but my empathy and compassion for caregivers helped me decide my path. Today my passion remains the same—to remove barriers and set up systems for success to improve the lives and work of those that care for the most vulnerable.
My journey to healthcare, like most others, comes from a personal experience. It comes from a hardship in my life, one that stretched me and molded me into who I am today. However, I would not change a thing. God has blessed me with the opportunity to lead, and I am committed to stewarding this responsibility well. Colossians 3:23 is one of my favorite verses. It says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” I have been blessed with many caregivers along my journey who had a higher calling to their work. I hope to honor them, and ultimately, my Father in Heaven, with the work that I do each day.