An Inspirational Story: Lyna Nguyen

You know what’s hard for me to see the most? Bright people who let themselves down. They lose themselves. They become wrapped in this realm of having no motivation to succeed, no dreams for the future, no drive for life, no passion for living. It’s always a little hard for me to watch people linger in self doubt, including myself. I find that all too often, we left ourselves down. We doubt ourselves, we limit our own capabilities, we query our great vision, our great dream because we think that our greatest dreams are impossible.

So instead of trying anymore, we give up.

We stop believing on what could have been the best thing that will ever happen to us.

We continue to tell ourselves “ I can’t do it” and if that’s what we think than hey… I guess we are absolutely right.

I’d like to share this soul to you. Someone very special to me—my beautiful cousin Lyna Nguyen. You’ll probably hear about her a lot throughout this blog. We lived our childhood together. Pretended to be princesses, climbed trees, played dress up, cooked the tastiest foods and even ran the streets one thundering night in our birthday suits. We basically did everything together. I mean, she’s my best friend. My teacher. My spiritual soul mate. My cousin. My blood. She was miss popular of her high school years and dominated in field hockey. She played like such a bad ass that her two front teeth got busted. (Yeah, I wish I was kidding too). She played the violin beautifully, not to mention the way she moved on that step team she joined. She was quite an adventurous soul and opened my eyes up to a much larger word.

All was jolly and joyous until one day, 2007, on her 18th birthday, Lyna was diagnosed leukemia.

Her life had changed forever.

This was a girl who was obsessed with every strand on her head. This was a girl who despised hospitals, who was immensely afraid of needles, just the thought of looking at it made her quiver. She couldn’t stand taking pills more than anything. And you see, she had to go through this every waking day. I’d take some time off school every once in a while and stay with her in the hospital. I would sit there by her side every day and hold back the numbest tears as I watched her face cringe and her eyes squint throbbingly while she held onto my hands with the tightest grip every time they went to inject a needle in her.
Quickly though, it made her stronger, she grew a thicker skin. Needles became painless and pills were like candy. She grew to love the hospital, either that or she grew to make the best of it and more importantly,

she grew to love herself. The her that exists beyond her hair, beyond her face, beyond her appearances.

The doctors told her she only had one year left to live. It was tough for her but she learned to accept it and make the absolute best out of the situation. Her drive and intense  force to fuel through life was immense, you could feel her inner fight just sitting next to her. She lived everyday with the utmost level of optimism. She made sure she did everything she wanted to do. Nothing would stop her. Her passion was food and cooking and she dreamed to own a grand 5 star restaurant with draped curtains surrounding every individualized table. As a matter of fact, she was so positive and believed in herself so much that against the doctors words, her cancer went away. She didn’t waste a moment.

So she packed her things and went straight to college so she could begin to pursue her dream.



Shortly one year after, her cancer relapsed and she had to start the whole process over again.





Only this time it was worse. What I never seemed to comprehend at the time was how happy and driven she remained. She had this vibrating light gleaming inside of her so bright that you could see it shining through her face. I remember lying down with her one night during one of our interminable talks about life, I asked her “ If you had the power to go back in time and erase all of this, would you?” She said, “Not at all, everything happens for a reason and my purpose is to make a difference. It’s what made me, me. “ All with the most sincere smile on her face. I have never seen or met anyone as passionate about life as she was.

Treatment after treatment, fight after fight. June 28, 2010, Lyna passed away one month short before her 21st birthday. Yes, her body gave out on her, but what I hope for people to recognize is that she NEVER gave out on herself. She fought every waking moment. She had no choice.

However… Me. You?

We have a choice. We have the choice to chase the guts out of our dreams, to take optimal care of our body, to live healthy, to be happy, to fall in love, to have a family, to accomplish whatever it is our daring heart desires.

Remember when YOLO was so popular? “You Only Live Once”, let’s stuff our faces with cake. Let’s drink until our livers give up on us. Let’s party all night until we black out. YOLO. No. No we don’t live just one time. We’re living today, tomorrow and everyday of our lives. What does happen once is dying. As you’re sitting here today, possibly doubting yourself, your goals or your life. Not loving yourself enough, not believing in yourself enough, always feeling hopeless. I hope you can wake up to the real you, your essential nature of whom is fearless, happy, and free.

I write this to you all today to give you a slight insight into the life of a dreamer who took the extra sprint even when the doctors told her she didn’t have much time left. Being in the hospital so long with Lyna, I saw how so many people had their bodies taken over by these sicknesses that they couldn’t controlled. Oh, how Lyna wished so badly to be healthy again. So while you have the chance to be as healthy as you can be, to run for whatever your dreams may be in life, why don’t you? You’re the only person standing in the way of you.

She changed my perspective of living. She opened up my eyes to what I’ve always taken for granted; my health.


Before I leave, I’d like to send you these direct words of Lyna. “My definition of life is that there is none, you just live it. The only purpose to life is to make sweet memories, live it to the fullest, and make sure that its not short lived (meaning dont do anything that will hurt you)! Live every day as if it was a new beginning and understand that the past is the past, there is nothing that you can do about it. The only thing you can do is make the best of it. As I see it, Life is a big blank paper, its up to us to decide how our life is written or what it looks like (im thinkin make it COLORFUL)!”

This angel will forever be an inspiration in my heart. Hopefully she can now be in yours

I would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts below.


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