Toward the end of 2021, our Grade 11 students had the opportunity to hear inspirational speaker Anthony Bennett – sometimes dubbed the "Miracle Man" – who came to TASIS to share his story and talk about the lessons that can be learned from his experiences.
After returning from a school trip to Disneyland Paris in 2006, Anthony began to feel unwell. Very quickly, he fell extremely ill and was left fighting for his life. It was the beginning of a long journey, from an extended stay in the hospital – during which he contracted several serious infections including sepsis, his heart stopped no fewer than twelve times, and he spent 21 days on a life support machine – to being named one of the happiest people in the UK.
Despite being given only a 10% chance of survival, Anthony beat the odds. However, his ordeal left him severely debilitated and he had to relearn how to breathe, sit, stand, and walk unaided. Each day was focused on the small but important achievements that would enable him to resume his life.
Finally able to leave the hospital, he was struck by the pace of life – so busy, so fast, with people seemingly ignoring what was happening around them. Anthony, however, was interested in experiencing all of the ordinary day-to-day details that can make life so special. He was struck by the simple but profound things he could see all around him, like witnessing the love communicated between a mother and her baby.
Anthony spoke to the students about ways that all people – regardless of their age or circumstances – can deal with setbacks and improve their mental resilience, mental health, and well-being. He also talked about the importance of teamwork, and how his life depended not only on the primary medical professionals fighting to save his life but also on every other person who assisted in his care. They all, along with his family, played a vital part in his recovery, no matter how big or small their role.
Finally, he related how he discovered the "power to say yes," with the result that his biggest fear, public speaking, has become his biggest asset. Over the last decade, this dynamic young man has channeled his energies into charitable fundraising and sharing his message of the power of positive energy and the importance of people finding their motivation from within. In Anthony's words, "When you say yes, amazing things happen!"
You can find out more about Anthony at anthonyinspires.com