In honor of Christmas and Hanukkah and other solstice-centered holidays, and the warmth and compassion they make us want to extend to each other in the dark of the year, let me tell you a story about someone extraordinary.
Carol Decker is a wife and mom of two toddlers who lives in a small town at the foot of Mount Rainier in Washington. She is extraordinary not for professional achievements, but for very personal ones. Against overwhelming odds, she survived one of the most common, least-recognized illnesses in the United States: sepsis, which attacks an estimated 750,000 Americans each year, more than breast and lung cancer combined, and kills approximately one person every three minutes. What makes her extraordinary, though, is not only that she survived — because she had a lot of help doing that, including a smart and sympathetic medical team, thorough rehabilitative care, a supportive community and a loving and determined spouse — but that she found the courage and grace to embrace the changed life that sepsis left her with.