Andrew Costigan
Andrew Costigan 2 signatures

I am a lead poison survivor since I was an infant; I inhaled something in the air and the source was a lead-based paint used in the home I had lived in 66 Monroe Street and I might have also picked up something off the ground covered in lead putting it in my mouth. I could have died with the high and dangerous levels of lead in my blood if it were not for my family putting everything they had on the line in the face of difficult life circumstances to save my life. One of my uncles told me recently my grandfather (mother’s father) held me in his arms when I was starting to recover from my poisoning; he was one of the people who did not give up on me and did not leave me to die. I had temporarily lost my ability to speak and developed a mild form of autism at least I recall from certain effects from the poison. People say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; ironically, in my case, it is true and I live it. I had taken speech therapy classes since the poison early on affected my speech and did not have to taken them when high school came. I feel I mostly taught myself valuable life lessons. I learned to forgive others including those who harmed me. I learned to treat others humanely; same goes for other beings who share our universe. When I hear of injustices, especially the ones where innocent people are victims of any poison, it does put me to tears; I do not want them to suffer like I did. I actually have done a bit of research on my own about lead poisoning and writing a couple of research papers in my schooling so far. I always try to tell my story to whoever I meet and hope they understand me. I am grateful and appreciate whatever I have never taking life in our universe for granted. I made my own fire and essence, which will always burn. I thank my teachers, family, idols, and everyone else for partly shaping my life. After all the years of rehabilitating myself, I realized my humanity and being of the universe as I hope everyone else can do the same. Every time I tell my story, I tremble when I write and think back to what happened to me. I sometimes find new nuances to express myself and the point of my story is I have come to terms with who I am: I am survivor, I am autistic, I am a human being, and I am a body of the universe among many. We are one with the universe. Thank you.

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