Welcome to Winter '14 Scholarship

Topic: Please write a poem, in a style of your choosing, on the theme of overcoming a personal challenge.

Ke Fan Bei
University of Toronto for Life Sciences



A bell chimes twelve under the sun
I, a little girl of dark brown eyes
So strong they cried of the little one
Her future as endless as the autumn sky

Laughter and joy swelled and charmed
Surrounded was I by joy and love
Safe from wickedness and unharmed
Free to glide and soar as a dove

Joyous were those days and year
Full of laughter and sunshine
Unknowingly darkness draws near
Plugging the world into shade

The tides of fate took a turn
Weak I became to the world
With fever and discomfort I burn
From infections my body curled

Swollen and ill I became
Friends and school I missed
Under the clutches of the disease my soul is aflame
Never knowing defeat, I resist

In and out of the hospital I go
Soon stranger to my classmate I am
Alone and shy buried in books I became
Different I was to them

I became frail and weak
Yet days passed and years go by
The future envisioned became bleak
Why my parents asked why?
As days spent enclosed behind those walls
The hospital became my second home
Skin pierced by sharp needles
I did not wince or groan

Surround by machines and wires
I was rocked to sleep by their beeping
Deep within me burns a raging fire
Drying all the tears and weeping

Yet, unconquerable was my spirit
Against the tide of circumstance I fight
Never bowing my head to dispirit
Lighting a fire against this endless night

Soon twelve years has gone by
Thing changed and uncertainty enveloped
Dialysis they proclaimed and cried
Three days a week, four hours a time, I am enclosed

Alone I watched through my hospital room window
As white flakes softly drifts to the ground
Covering the world in an endless flow
A glittering white landscape all around

Strong I stand in this place of sorrow and tears
Unshakeable, unbreakable as a pillar of stone
Despite the endless worry and fears
Resolute I stand never to moan

Unreachable, untouchable, I was separated from my classmates
School events and clubs I could not attend
But my soul will fight through those gates
And against the odds I would not bend

Three more years went by in the blink of an eye
Night threatens to cover me once more
A transplant I shall need
With love and affection my mother became my saviour

Into the operating room we went
A second chance at life I was given
Once more, the darkness was beat
And the sun was let to shine
On my back I carry the weight of my illness
But it is those weights that lift me up with brilliance
Like wings they glide me to a new horizon, my spirit fearless
Bestowing me strength and resilience


Here' is Ke Fan Bei's personal statement:

I was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of three. I was in and out of the hospital a lot during my childhood due to various infections as my immune system was weak. This made it difficult to make friends or attend school.

As time went on, my kidneys failed and at the age of 15, I was on dialysis three times a week. I continued dialysis for three years before I underwent kidney transplant surgery thanks to my mother. She donated one of her kidneys as I was unable to be matched through the waiting list. This added difficultly to my family’s financial circumstance but together we pulled through.

Despite my chronic kidney disease, I worked hard to maintain my mark in school as I hope to go into medicine and into research so that one day I may be able to help others like me.


It has been a long road and it has not been easy but it is through overcoming challenges that we can grow. I do not think that I would be as strong willed and determined as I am today if I had not faced the challenges that I had.