Price Earns Powell Courage Award

Sophia Bartolo, Staff Writer

Life is rarely fair, but perhaps more uncommon is the individual that can take  life’s greatest challenges and turn them into something positive. For one Campolindo student, her response to a truly harrowing, life and death moment has come to define an extraordinary character and an appreciation for what truly matters.

Audrey Price suffered an aneurysm on June 13, 2014, during the summer preceding her freshman year. In spite of the seriousness of the event, which impacted Price’s ability to walk, use her hands, and even speak, the resilient Campolindo student continues her remarkable journey back to normalcy, and maintains an astonishingly positive view of her situation.

According to Medical News Today, “An aneurysm occurs when part of a blood vessel (artery) or cardiac chamber swells, – either the blood vessel is damaged, or there is a weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. As the aneurysm grows there is a greater risk of rupture – this can lead to severe hemorrhage, and other complications, including sudden death.”

Immediately following her aneurysm, the entire right side of Price’s body was paralyzed. Slowly but surely, the freshman has worked with health care professionals to regain her muscle function. “When I first got out of surgery I couldn’t move my entire right side and now I have some movement back, but definitely not all,” said Price.

“I’ve been going [to physical therapy] ever since two weeks after my surgery. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks and I’ve been going to physical therapy ever since. I had speech therapy up until 5 weeks ago. OT [occupational therapy] is where they [the doctors] work on your arm and movement and PT [physical therapy] is for your leg. They give you exercises to have,” explained Price.

One of the biggest challenges in response to the paralysis if Price’s right side was learning to compensate with her left side. “I was right handed before and now I’m left handed. It was definitely hard for me to write with my left hand, like you can say shoot I can’t right with my left hand I’m just going to go back to my right hand. I can’t do that because my left hands the best hand that I have,” said Price.

Price’s road back from such a traumatic experience has been a long one.  She’s coming up on the year anniversary of the aneurysm next month.  She began the school year on a modified schedule, but over the course of the last 7 months has gradually reached the point where she is attending a full schedule of classes and handling a full academic load.

Her tremendous efforts have not gone unnoticed.  In addition to the praise she has received from her teachers and peers on campus, Price has recently received several awards, including the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hosplitals’ Colin Powell Courage Award, which came with a chance to meet Bruno Mars.

“I got the Marc Benioff award for courage. Four kids were chosen for the ceremony and I was one of them. I got picked to get the courage award. There was a massive outside area where there was a concert playing and inside it was so beautiful; it was gorgeous. They presented the courage award onto me and I gave my speech and my mom gave her speech. Then we went outside and rocked to the concert and we met Bruno Mars,” said Price.

Price has also enjoyed meeting One Direction through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Ironically, Price did not initially think her harrowing experience warranted consideration by the foundation. “I said in the car before my surgery, before all of this happened, ‘Mom do you think I’m going to get a Make-a-Wish?’ She said, ‘No honey, that’s only for kids who are dying’ and we just left it at that,” said Price.

“Then one day when I was in the hospital my mom saw a Make-a-Wish pamphlet. She picked it up and it said that most kids think Make-a-Wish is for kids who are dying, but it’s not. My mom and my sister wrote a letter to One Direction and they got us in contact with Make-a-Wish and so I flew to Chicago and I met them and went to their concert,” explained Price.

While meeting such famous musical artists has been fun, what Price really values from her ordeal is the way it has provided her with an increases sensitivity for the struggles that so many people face in life.  Her experience has taught her the importance of learning from adversity, and has instilled in her an appreciation for what most people take for granted.

“I think [the experience] helped me. I don’t know if I would trade in my body for a body that functions normally because I’ve come so far and I don’t just want it all to vanish,” explained Price.

“It’s definitely made me more empathetic to people who have diseases. It’s made me not judge people based on their disabilities,” said Price.