When Christina Santhouse was 7-years-old, she was diagnosed with a rare condition called Rasmussen’s encephalitis. The condition, which was an inflammation of one hemisphere of her brain caused Christina to have frequent seizures – at times up to 150 a day. It could have proved to be life threatening had she not opted for the operation, yet today, at 28-years-old, she’s married, has a Master’s Degree and is working an inspiring career as a speech pathologist.
At 8-years-old, Christina had to make the tough decision to undergo a 14-hour hemispherectomy, a procedure in which the right side of the brain was surgically removed. After having the surgery, she lost many of her motor functions on her left side. Doctors told her she would never be able to do things like drive a car.
Despite that, Christina wasn’t going to let her disability stop her, she would just have to work harder. “I think, for me, once getting out of surgery when the doctors told me that I couldn’t [drive], it just gave me even more motivation to try,” she told 60 Minutes.
Santhouse became determined to prove people wrong, she studied hard and at 17-years-old she got her drivers license. When she went to college she beat the odds and got her undergraduate and Masters degree in less than 5 years. After graduating school, she went to work at Bucks County Intermediate Unit, providing services for public schools in Philadelphia.
Around the time she was finishing school, she began getting involved with and joined a church. There she met her husband, Vince Paravecchia, who says didn’t even notice her condition.
Santhouse has become an inspiration to everyone that knows her, someone that people look to for encouragement when facing tough circumstances in life. She is an overcomer in every way.
In the video, Santhouse tells people, “You’re going to have difficult times, but you need to find the strength within yourself. And when you can’t find that strength, look to others around you because they will boost you up when you need some guidance and strength.”