We all had our idols growing up. Whether it was your freshman English teacher who always challenged you to follow your dreams or your favorite baseball player who always left you in awe, idols can be all around us.
For me, one of my most memorable idols lived on my television.
When I became sick and spent several months in the hospital, I didn't know what my future held. I was 14-years-old and had to learn how to move my arms and breathe all over again. Seeing tomorrow quickly became my daily goal and thinking about life outside of the hospital was more dream than reality.
While I put my education on hold, I still thought about what my life would be like after college. I had some ideas on what I wanted to do as a career, but a fateful encounter in my hospital room changed my life forever.
During my hospital stay, I started writing about my hospital experience. I wanted to share my thoughts and insight into my life-changing ordeal and hoped it would help someone in similar circumstances.
It didn't take long for me to develop a love for writing and at that point I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career. Since the staff knew I enjoyed writing and had a love for sports, they decided to send a special visitor my way.
12News' Mark Curtis.
When I was in the rehabilitation center, Curtis was volunteering at the hospital and the staff arranged for me to meet the then sportscaster.
To say I was excited would be an understatement. I had spent years watching him on television and the chance to meet him in person would be amazing.
For a few moments, I wasn't a scared kid in a hospital. I was just an avid Arizona sports fan talking about my favorite teams with a new friend. Curtis and I chatted a few times before I was released and his time with me was a big reason why I pursued a career in sports journalism.
After high school, I attended Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. With my degree in hand, I set out to become the next great sports writer. But as life always does, it threw me a couple curve balls.
Various job opportunities sent me into the world of marketing and social media. I enjoyed this line of work, but something always felt like it was missing. A few months ago, an opportunity crossed my path that I couldn't pass up.
This past December, I stated my new position as Social Media Producer for 12 News. It's only been a few months, but I can safely say that this is where I was meant to be. It's an awesome feeling being able to get up and genuinely feel like you are doing what you were meant to do.
After years of trying, I've finally made it into the world of journalism.
No, I haven't become the famous sports writer I dreamed about, but my journey is far from over. And the coolest part?
I get to work with the person who inspired me to become a journalist in the first place, Mark Curtis. When I first saw him, he was just a guy on television chatting about the Arizona Cardinals. Now he's a guy I can I can truly call a friend.
Not many people get to say they work with their idols, and I'm privileged to be one of them.
So what's the moral of this story?
We can all be heroes. Maybe not the kind that leaps tall buildings in a single bound, but the kind that donates their time and shows a boy that anything is possible. The kind that gives people, especially a thankful kid, the inspiration to never give up and fight for your dreams, no matter what.