Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Story of Juliane Keopcke

     "That is the end, it's all over" are the last words that 17 year old Juliana Keopcke heard form her mother right before her airplane exploded mid-flight, and right before her 2-mile free fall strapped to her air plane seat. Juliana reports that she had lost consciousness on her free fall descent, and remembers nothing of the impact - only upon coming to does she experience the deafening quite of the jungle and the soul-crushing realization that she is alone. Remarkably, Juliana suffered only a broken collar bone and some minor cuts from her free fall (and later on found out she had a ruptured ligament in her knee).

   The real-life story of Juliane is much more than her amazing survival of 2-mile free fall, the real amazement lies in her determination to live and this determination  is motivation at it's core. Just like Shackleton, Keopcke survived in an environment that pushes an individual to their breaking point and the only thing to keep them going is the will to live - to survive. Juliane faced fear-inducing scenarios while in the rainforest, ranging from alligators and piranhas to maggots festering in her infected wound (to which she poured gasoline on to kill them, and save her arm). She pushed on through until she was discovered by locals who then treated her wounds and eventually took her back to civilization where she met with her father for, what I could image to be, a very emotional reunion.

   Faced with adversity and the lowest of odds, it's truly incredible what the human species is capable of. The stories of Shackleton and Keopcke are two of many different tales of hero-like capabilities to live another day, to achieve a mighty goal, and, ultimately, to thrive.

(There are many links online that discuss Juliane's story, as well as a book. The one I used as reference is a BBC article: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17476615)