On May 11, Stevie Teufel '19 celebrated her academic accomplishments after obtaining her master of education degree, but for her dad, Larry Teufel, this day was also a celebration of his daughter's life. He reflected, in a letter to his daughter, how her difficult birth posed many potential life obstacles in her doctor's eyes, but Stevie had overcome it all.
Here is the letter he wrote for her and posted to his Facebook page as graduation day also marked Stevie's birthday:
On this day in 1984 your mother called me at work and told me “something is wrong; I should come to the hospital immediately.” When I arrived at the hospital your mother was in a room with her doctor, nurse and technicians operating new technology, the ultrasound. They were unable to detect any movement of you. After a agonizing long time the doctor said he finally heard a faint heartbeat and said, “I was beginning to think we lost her.” An emergency Caesarian was ordered.
After the operation the doctor came to talk to me and said “I almost dropped her when I lifted her out; she was like a fish out of the water." You were born nine weeks premature.
In the following days pediatric specialist doctors examined you and each one had dreadful news for your mother and I.
We were told that your eyes had not fully developed and you would likely have visual disabilities, possibly blind, yet you proved them wrong; you see like a eagle not even wearing any glasses.
We were told that growth would be limited, yet you proved them wrong; today you are nearly as tall as me.
We were told your motor skills would be limited. Yet, you proved them wrong. You excelled at dance lessons, got involved in roller skating, did competitive skate dancing, got into speed skating and eventually roller derby, where you were envied by your teammates and feared by your opponents.
We were told you could have hearing disabilities. Again, you proved them wrong. We were told you would be mentally challenged in education, yet today is not just your birthday, it’s also your graduation day earning a master's degree so you can teach others dental hygiene. Once again proving them wrong. You will have a very proud angel walking with you today and a very proud father watching.
Congratulations Stephanie and happy birthday!
Stevie Teufel, you are a inspiration to all of us. When we’re told we can’t, we can.