What does it mean to live life to the fullest? Is it simply going to school? Having high grades? Meeting the deadlines? For some, it may be something bigger. This could be achieving a goal like traveling the world, having a stable job, maintaining a happy marriage or raising responsible children. Yet notably, living life to the fullest is a challenge not only for those who’ve lived long here on earth but also for the youth of today.
We have looked up to women who had great roles in history because we sometimes equate success to living life to the fullest. Growing up, I have looked up to a lot of courageous women like Mama Mary, Amelia Earhart, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, to name a few. Personally, I think that we don’t have to look far. The person right next to us might just be someone who is already living her life fully. This is a reminder that each one is special.
During my younger years, I always remember seeing this cheerful kid in our school, playing nonchalantly. As time passed, she’s grown into a lady who has the guts of a man, the fighting spirit of an athlete and that natural smile that captured the hearts of many friends and strangers alike. She’s Danielle Louise Conde, a multi-faceted 17 year old college freshman hailing from Capas, Tarlac. She started practicing Taekwondo at the age of five and earned her precious black belt at the age of fifteen.
Many friends say her mere smile and aura light up a whole room. Her beauty titles from the pageants she joined can attest to that. Kindheartedness springs from her heart and proves that she’s not just a girl of beauty and brains; she also has the heart of a selfless volunteer. Her advocacies for the children are just remarkable and awe-inspiring.
However, a very unfortunate event cost her life. Police investigations proved that until her very last breath, she showed the strength and willpower of a courageous woman fighting for her life. She had a promising future ahead and with her sudden demise, a heavy flow of condolences sparked even from people unknown to her. Her Facebook page was peppered with heart wrenching comments from her closest friends up to those who were touched to have heard such good stories of her kindheartedness while she was still here.
There are many women all over the world just like Danielle, who lost their life in trying to fight for what is right and just. Their stories will always serve as an inspiration for us to strive to work for the common good and help those who are unable to defend themselves. No matter what circumstance, women must be treated with equal worth and respect. We are called to always defend the dignity of each person.
This is a tribute to a girl who has touched the lives of many people and who exemplified that though her life was cut short, it is what you make out of life that matters. For some she is that senior black belter. For others she is their campus beauty queen or their class sweetheart. But for me, she is an inspiring woman that we can all emulate. She is my heroine in many ways. Thank you, Dannuts. Your physical presence might be gone but your bravery and character will forever be remembered.
By Ms. Gen Gomez, Intern at WYA Asia Pacific.