When I was teaching journalism at Regent years ago, I had a graduate student who taught me far more than I taught him. A nontraditional student who once flew helicopters in Africa for a living, Sean’s life took an unexpected turn when he was badly mangled in a motorcycle accident.

He was told he’d never walk again, but Sean wasn’t one to take no for an answer. Through hard work and painful diligence, he learned to stand on his own two feet again.

When I met him, Sean had a brace on one leg and leaned heavily on a cane to get around. One morning as I was getting off the elevator to go to my first class, I saw Sean climbing the stairs.

“Why don’t you take the elevator?” I asked.

“Elevators are for the crippled,” he said with no judgment in his voice. “And I’m not crippled.”

That entire year, Sean refused to take the elevator, opting instead to slowly make his way up the stairs with the same can-do attitude that he used to tackle life.

I thought of Sean the other day when I went to the oncologist for my regular semi-annual appointment at the University of Arkansas Medical Center. I decided to celebrate my health by taking the stairs instead of the elevator to the clinic on the seventh floor of #UAMS’ Rockefeller Cancer Center.

Like most climbs, that hike up to the seventh floor #cancer center was a metaphor for the challenges we all face in life. At the beginning, the journey seems almost insurmountable.

But taking it one step at a time turns the impossible into the possible. We just have to keep on going.

Once we reach our destination, we can look back at where we started and appreciate the journey and the strength we gained with each step.

I was a bit winded by time I reached my doctor’s office on the seventh floor. But I made it. And I can honestly say it’s been the climb of a lifetime.

Here’s to life. Whatever it brings.