Not all that glitters is gold. The fact is that you don’t need to be gold. Gold is just a symbol. And as a human being you are so much more than just a symbol.
The outer victories are the most celebrated, but we all know (or at least we all should know) that the greatest and most important victories come from the difficult battles fought deep inside ourselves.
It is fall 1994, Los Angeles, California. I was living the best time of my life, living my childhood dream of being a professional model. Only God knows from where I got the crazy idea to become a model. There I was on the other side of the world, in the city of angels meeting celebrities like they were ordinary people. Working for big international campaigns, music videos, doing fashion shows, you name it. Crazy hectic time but still so wonderful that I would not change it for anything else.
For Christmas 1994 I booked a job for big Finnish company, I didn’t even have to audition for it. They wanted me and nobody else. It was perfect timing because I could use this chance to spend Christmas and New Year in Finland with my family and friends.
It was about 8 o´clock on January the 10th.My mother and I were watching TV, and suddenly I started feeling weird, much like I was drunk. Mom took me immediately to the nearest health center, from there to the emergency room. As we were sitting there waiting for some treatment hours passed. And after 6 hours I was completely paralyzed. It seemed that when I was watching TV (for crying out loud) I got a stroke. And my life took a U-turn
After six-months of rehabilitation in Helsinki and diagnosed with Locked-In Syndrome (LIS) I winded up living with my parents much like a baby, completely paralyzed, completely depended on them. Not what I had had in mind for future. Depression sunk in. Difficult times were ahead but still I would not take any antidepressants. I thought that I would have to face the music sooner or later so it might as well be sooner and get it over.
I have reached total acceptance along the way. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when it happened. I probably just grew up into it. I managed to understand that these were the cards that have been dealt, and there was nothing else left for me just to make the best out of it.
Now 18 years later I just got married to a wonderful man (as unreal as it might sound!). It was a beautiful sunny and freezing winter ´s day full of glitters, from the snow and our eyes!
My name is Kati van der Hoeven (Lepistö). Physically I am locked in, but every single day my soul soars like no other.