| Diary Serial |

Moonwalk: Epilogue

To all the Libbys of the world: thank you for inspiring me. Your journey has changed mine

Dear Readers,

Writing this diary serial has been a journey up a moonbeam, a view into a world that could’ve been so dark, but has been bravely lit by glowing sparks of hope, resilience, and courage. Putting Libby’s journey into words and chapters has been a process of almost three years – a process, a privilege, and an opportunity.

In writing Moonwalk, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know dozens of quiet heroines, regular teens just like you, who fight the silent battles of chronic illness, often unrecognized and unapplauded. They struggle with the ups and downs that Libby went through in these pages, sometimes for years and years without a clear diagnosis, and then, as life goes on, with the medication, the flare-ups, the changes of treatment plans, the secrets, the emotional pressure... plus everything else that matters in the life of a teen: friends, family, schoolwork, shopping. And despite all of this, so many of them succeed in overcoming the hurdles, one step at a time – and even reaching out to support others along similar, challenging journeys.

Libby’s story is drawn from the true-life accounts of a few amazing girls diagnosed with auto-immune conditions. The challenges are real; the medical details and series of tests and doctors’ appointments are typical of a girl with Libby’s symptoms; and the reactions of Libby’s family, friends, and teachers are true-to-life. My hope is that the glimpse Libby’s given us into the world of chronic illness will bring more understanding, validation, and support to the heroines among us who are often fighting their battles alone.

To the incredible girls of MyTEAM support group: thank you for inviting me into your hearts, and for sharing the views from the mountains you’ve climbed. Thank you for your honesty, for not masking the raw pain, the grit, the heartbreak, the lowest moments. Thank you for your stories of survival, courage, resilience and faith. Most of all, thank you for teaching me what it means to be a fighter.

Libby is a little piece of all of you. I hope she’s done you proud as she leaves these pages and continues on her journey. As she knows by now, it won’t be smooth sailing. She’s about to change treatment plans (just when she’s so relaxed about the infusions!) and in the years ahead, things like camp, seminary, and shidduchim may not be straightforward. There will be many more tears, stresses, fears, and flare-ups along the way. But she’s ready to face it, and she’s willing to extend the support to someone else too. Even though she’s not perfect. Even though the story is not over, and will never be. Because life is a growing process, and if she can be just a little bit stronger tomorrow than she was yesterday, then today’s struggles are worth it.

To all the Libbys of the world: thank you for inspiring me. Your journey has changed mine.

Rochel Samet


To all teens out there fighting the silent battle of chronic illness – know that you’re not alone! There are girls “in the same boat” and support is available. MyTEAM provides mentoring opportunities, daily chizuk emails, shiurim and classes via teleconference, and even face-to-face events for hundreds of frum girls and women dealing with chronic conditions. Everything is run in strictest confidentiality. MyTEAM can be contacted via Teen Pages.


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 825)

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