by Max Novick, 11th grade
On May 8th, Waldorf’s 7th through 12th grade students were fortunate to hear the inspiring words of Marc Elliot. Marc has suffered from Tourettes’ syndrome for over twenty years and he shared with the students how it feels to be different in a world where many people are taught that difference is not always accepted. An even more challenging ailment Marc has suffered from is a disease known as Hirschsprung’s disease. As a result of this disease, Marc told the students that he has no large intestines and only four feet of small intestines. For Marc, this means a constant awareness of his diet and the distance to the nearest restroom.
Marc’s speech was full of inspirational words delivered in a humorous and powerful fashion. He taught how to be tolerant and, more importantly, why to be tolerant through a series of personal examples that made us reflect deeply on their own lives. He made me realize that I do not know what is truly occurring in the lives of others that may be causing them to act differently. The lessons Marc taught will resonate strongly because of the connection he was able to make with everyone in the audience. Although I never had to overcome the same obstacles as Marc has, I still felt a very personal connection with his stories and will forever remember his words as I continue on my life’s path. His triumph over his handicaps demonstrates the importance of the phrase “live and let live.”