Or in this particular instance, Ibellieve. You can find out more about Simon Ibell at the website, www.ibellieve.ca .
Simon Ibell, grad of 1996, spoke to our students on Monday morning. I got to know about Simon during my first year at the School, when the bus he was riding got into an accident, and the immediate worry was that Simon’s unusual and unpredictable constitution – a result of his MPS II, a rare disease caused by enzyme deficiency – would have a hard time dealing with injury. Fortunately he was fine.
By that time, at age 17, Simon had outlived by seven years his predicted lifespan. Every year he would be told he might have another year to live, but by this time – 1996 – Simon was committed to living the ordinary life of an SMUS student. Despite his stunted growth, his hearing aid, and the challenges sometimes of even breathing, he participated in sports, musicals, academics, and ended up graduating, going on to University of Victoria. He was totally focused on his abilities, not his disabilities. The full life he continued to live at university, and afterward, is in fact far from ordinary. More recently, after an experimental treatment proved successful in controlling the disease and reversing some of its symptoms, Simon has been able to take up the cause of rare diseases, as described on his website.
In his understated, clear and articulate way, Simon credits his experience at the School for the fruitful unfolding of his life. To hear such thoughts is humbling, frankly: Simon is an example of how his simple every day choices to make a potentially abnormal life normal can compel us all to better things.