Annie is OK - By Mike Lynch
In November of 2010 I wrote a piece for this space detailing a unique individual. Her name is Annie Garofalo, who at the time, was a senior at Medfield High School. Annie was born without a left hand, but that hardly deterred her from chasing her dreams.
If it wasn't for her coach Mike Mason, I may never have met Annie and as he, (Mike Mason) told me, "Annie's is a story that must be told."
Annie had tried out for the varsity field hockey team every year since the eighth grade and didn't make the team until she was a senior. She never whined, her parents never protested to the coach or athletic director, Annie made it her mission to make the team - and she did.
"I like telling people what I CAN do as opposed to what I CANNOT do," Annie told me in the fall of 2010.
I featured Annie on High 5 and her story caught the attention of one of the admissions officers at Harvard who called me the following April and told me Harvard was impressed with her application as well as her credentials, and that they were going to offer her admission.
Annie just completed her freshman year, she e-mailed me recently with an update telling me that she is "grateful every day for the opportunity to be part of such a prestigious university. I made fast friends with classmates and professors," she wrote. Annie went on to tell me that she has been offered a position on campus as a research assistant in one of her professor's labs, where she is majoring in neurobiology. She has been offered an eight-week program to study neurobiology in Italy this summer as well. When she returns to campus in the fall she plans to participate in the Drug and Alcohol Peer Advising program.
In her short email I counted the word "opportunity" four different times. It struck me how much that word has changed Annie's life. Mike Mason gave her an "opportunity" to play on the field hockey team. Harvard gave Annie an "opportunity" to chase and catch her dreams, while helping others. So many times the ticket to life is just an "opportunity" to let one's talents flourish. Annie waited nearly 18 years for her "opportunity."
Something tells me we haven't heard the last from Annie. She is definitely doing OK.