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Israel Tamire Peace Pole Dedication 2016

“It didn’t stop me.”

Peace Pole dedicated Sept. 16, 2016Remarks by Israel Tamire at the Sept. 16, 2016, Peace Pole Dedication ceremony at Manchester University:

Hello. My name is Israel Tamire and I was a student here at Manchester last year. I was a biology major and I was enjoying my time here until February 21st, when I was involved in a car accident that severely injured me and killed three of my friends.

But I’m not here to remind everyone of what happened that morning. I’m only here to tell everyone a quote that applies to me perfectly and could also apply to you. Most of you know this quote already. It goes: “It’s not about how hard you hit, It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Now most of you will agree that I was hit pretty hard by that car. It hit me so hard that it broke my right leg in four places, damaged the nerves in my leg, lacerated my liver, gave me respirator failure and even brain bleeding.

Most you will agree that that was a pretty hard hit, but that didn’t stop me from trying to stand up moments later, it didn’t stop me from giving a high five to the paramedics. It also didn’t stop me from getting into a stable condition in the hospital less than two days later.

I woke up a week later not knowing what had happened. Family and friend told me that I was in a car accident but that’s all they told me. It wasn’t until two weeks later that I found out that three of my friends that were with me that morning died in the same car accident that I was in.

That actually felt like a car hit me. It turned my whole life upside down. It gave me horrible survivor’s guilt and depression, and because of that I felt like giving up at times. But each time I felt like that, I would just think about the amount of prayers that people prayed for my health. It motivated me to keep going on. So, two months after the accident I started standing, three months and I started walking and four months after the accident – after the doctors said I couldn’t play basketball anymore – guess what happened. I took my first jump shot. I missed, but you can’t blame me. The sun was in my eyes.

I was still defying the doctors’ expectations. They said that if the nerves in my leg didn’t heal properly I would be wearing an AFO (ankle foot orthosis brace) for the rest of my life, but guess what happened. While I was in Ethiopia, my nerves regenerated and I was able to throw away the AFO and now I am here giving this speech to you all.

But this not the end of it. I’m still continuing my healing process and trust me that trying to stop me is like trying to stop a freight train with a piece of string or trying to stop my friend Aman from taking a selfie after a workout – which are both impossible. All I am going to tell you is that if you put your mind to it – and I mean really put your mind to it – your body will follow.

Thank you.