Artist Statement:

All I wanted to do with this piece was to experiment with comparing things. Writers often compare these specific things in metaphors, but together, what do they mean? Why is it that we compare them? Everything is up for interpretation. The world is the same.


Twenty-seven Survivor

Haley E. Gillam


She’s brave. She’s determined. She will always have her way, no matter what it would be. Her green eyes, behind her glasses, aflame with the will power to never diminish into the void of darkness. She’s Samantha Gerhardt, and she’s a surgery survivor. Through her wide smile, cheeks speckled with freckles, and her pale, Irish skin, No one would guess she had survived twenty-seven surgeries.


Sam struts through the halls of Dundee Crown with addictive hyperness and glowing happiness. She’s one of my best friends, and can always make me smile. Her dark brown hair is cut short with a guy’s cut, and she wears camo pants with cut hoodies and black shirts. She’s always giving advice, being a true friend. She enjoys the bass clarinet, Adventure Crew for boy scouts, singing, dancing, and just having fun. “What goes around comes around,” is what she always says in a sticky situation, preferring to shrug of the bad and look at the good. She’s like a wild animal that you can’t tame, yet it won’t harm you if you never give it a reason to. Although, even the wild animals of the world have their own secrets.

At school, Sam is happy and enjoyable to be around. But in her home, things are quite different. Samantha is diagnosed with many different health problems. Asthma, severe acid reflex disease, skin cancer, allergic to many different dyes, foods, and sunscreen, as well as the sun. Her knees need braces to keep from popping out of place and she was born deaf, and now wears a hearing aid. She has to take multiple different medications and pain killers to be able to function in our everyday world. And if she gets overheated, she’ll faint. It makes me sad to see her suffer from such things.


Yet, through all of this, her family holds strong, and takes care of her in any way needed to keep her alive. Twenty seven surgeries to count up to date. Twenty seven hospital bills, twenty seven near death situations, twenty seven times to see the hospital beds, twenty seven times to get drugged with pain killers. Twenty seven times of worry, twenty seven times of determination, twenty seven times of courage. Twenty seven times, and she’s still as energetic as ever. Still going strong, still going out to the mall, hanging with friends, and living life to the fullest.


Now take a look at Samantha Gerhardt again. Do you still see that wild animal? Or a tamed one in a cage? Do you see her able to do everything she wants, or can you just recognize her by her “illnesses”? She’s as wild as a tiger, as gentle as a kitten. She’s as playful as a puppy, and as determined as any teenage girl could be. She’ll never diminish to the void of darkness, for she can always be heard. She’s brave, she’s determined, and she’s a junior girl. She’s my best friend, but a twenty seven survivor.

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240