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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Here comes the sun: you are forgiven

<annot remember the exact day I was diagnosed with Xeroderma Pigmentosa (XP) – a rare, incurable, and life-threatening disease that leaves me without the protection that most living organisms have against the harmful effect of the sun’s ultraviolet rays – I recall my dad’s words clearly.

Using words that a three-year old could understand, he tried to instill in me a fear that I had not known – a fear of something as simple as opening our front door. He knew, as I came to know later, that any exposure to sunlight could ultimately lead to deadly melanomas and other malignancies too horrible to contemplate.

For the last seventeen years, I have lived in a protective cocoon, venturing outdoors unprotected only after sundown. My family’s home and cars have UV-resistant film on all windows, as did the windows in my grade school, junior high, high school, and now my dorm room. When I do venture out into the sunlight, I need the protection of a tinted welder’s helmet, jacket, and gloves. Without this equipment, I cannot lead a productive life: I cannot leave my dorm, much less make the walk necessary to study in the library, work at the Math Skills Center, or play IM basketball at West Gym. My helmet is as important to me as a Diabetic’s insulin, as an elderly person’s cane.

Two weekends ago, someone took my helmet from outside Burton dining hall. Although I got along with an older, broken helmet, my ability to do anything that weekend was compromised. I do not understand why someone would knowingly take something so essential from me. I can only assume, giving the community the benefit of the doubt, that this was an act of ignorance. Whoever did it should understand that, even though their actions were beyond reproach, I forgive them.

-Samir Soni Bhala is a first-year student

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