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The full text of the transcript read at the oratorical convention.
Omuta City Taguma Junior High School, 2 years, Sawatari Hitomi
What do you all think true happiness is?
Actually, thanks to my illness, I have learned that happiness is the closest thing to us.
It’s not the status, honor, or money, but the fact that we are alive now.
When I was in the sixth grade, I was diagnosed with a bone cancer called osteosarcoma and spent about a year and a half fighting the disease.
At that time, the doctor told me that I would not survive if I succumbed to the disease and that my right leg would have to be amputated from my thigh.
I was very shocked at first, but I was determined to win, and I fought the disease head on with only hope in my heart.
As a result, I overcame the disease and was able to keep my right leg, even though I had to have surgery.
However, the 15 dearest friends who fought the disease with me during this time have passed away one after another.
They ranged in age and illness from small babies to grandparents.
We fought desperately to stay alive while our minds and bodies were ravaged by the harsh treatment and all kinds of tests.
However, the reality was so severe that everyone passed away in an instant, and we were reminded of how difficult it is to stay alive and how great it is to live on.
Everyone was working hard cheerfully and energetically toward their goals, no matter how hard it was, imagining themselves to be healthy someday.
And yet, how frustrating it must have been to not be able to continue living.
What I clearly felt was that those who were battling the disease were the brightest of all.
And how happy they were to be able to go to school in good health and to spend their days with their family and friends as normal.
No matter how hard you run into a wall, no matter how much you suffer and worry, if you have life, you can always move forward.
I believe my mission is to pass on the important message that many of my friends who wanted to live but were unable to do so risked their lives to tell people around the world.
In today’s world, we are filled with anger every time we see sad news about wars where people kill each other, incidents where people take their lives without a care in the world, suicides caused by bullying, etc.
I wonder how many people in the world are seriously dealing with these news.
In the words of one of my favorite poets, ‘Many people say to evil in most of the problems of today’s society, “It’s none of my business”. They turn a blind eye to it unless it happens to them. That is, in fact, cheering for evil. It may be easy to say, “It’s nothing to do with me,” but it’s the most damaging to human beings. Our own humanity is diminished, and we will disappear more and more. If you don’t realize this, you will become an apathetic person who allows evil to happen without a care in the world. It was written.
I think that’s really true.
We must never forgive ourselves for any evil, no matter how small.
That’s where the evil escalates.
That’s the reality we have today.
I want those who take life so lightly to see the people who are fighting the disease and how precious life is.
And I want them to know how precious life is.
Ladies and gentlemen, no one knows when we humans will be able to do anything about it.
That’s why each and every day is so important.
Thanks to my illness, I was able to learn the most important thing in life.
Now I am truly grateful for my illness.
In order to fulfill my mission, I am going to live my life to the fullest for everyone who has passed away.
I wish you all a life without regrets, being grateful for the things you are living now.