When Adam Shehata was born 16 weeks early, weighing 1 pound and 7 ounces, his prognosis was grim.
It was 1982, and his parents, recent immigrants to Canada, were told that if their son did survive, he would face a host of medical problems and developmental delays throughout his life.
But 36 years later, Shehata is accomplishing the unthinkable, and it’s inspiring people worldwide.
He is returning to the hospital that saved his life so many years ago as a medical student, hoping to someday be a pediatric surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.
At 36, Shehata is practically ancient in the medical student world, where most of his classmates are in their early 20s.
But Shehata isn’t daunted by his age, rather, he believes his life experience as a pilot, lawyer, husband and father, will serve as strengths to him during the years of medical training that await.
On the first day of his pediatric rotation at Sick Kids hospital, Shehata snapped a photo of the building and wrote a few words about what the moment meant for him.
I was born at 24 weeks (660g or 1lb 7oz) in 1982 – just on the edge of viability – and immediately transfered by tunnel to SickKids. pic.twitter.com/NAgnRVZF1P
— Adam Shehata (@CaptShehata) November 26, 2018
He never expected the post to go viral, but now, people around the world are inspired and encouraged by the underdog who was never really expected to make much of his life.
“My parents were told that I was slow,” Shehata said. “The school tried to label me with a vague and unspecified learning disability. I repeated the third grade.”
“Since then, I became a professional pilot and taught people how to fly. I became a lawyer in 2016, and I’m now at one of the best medical schools in the world, learning from the people who saved my life over 30 years ago.”
Despite his accomplishments as a pilot and a lawyer, Shehata never could let go of his dream of becoming a pediatric surgeon.
Shehata told The Toronto Star that he applied five times to get into medical school and was about to give up and move on when he was accepted at the University of Toronto.
He is now is a third-year medical student, excited to see what the future holds.
“I’m fortunate for so many reasons, and much of it has to do with the care I received at Sick Kids,” Shehata says. “And now it’s a really nice feeling to know I can start to give back.”
Never underestimate the difference you can make in your line of work.
As Shehata said, “We can never truly know the impact we will have on other people’s lives.”
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