Alex Rozier won the YouTube competition recently with a story on transportation systems for the needy. But that wasn't the story that stood out. The one that got him to the final was.
Rozier told the story of a teenager fighting bone cancer for over four years.
He left us with many gold coins to pick up along the journey. The first part of the story seems as if its going to tell the story of the cheerleaders or the seniors. There aren't moments of confusion or non-clarity. It sets us up to meet this amazing cheerleader. Its not until almost a minute into the story that you find out that the cheerleader cheers from a wheelchair. It was a moment where your heart is twisted in knots and you feel connected to Amanda McDaniel.
"You try not to change your world as much as possible," she says in the report.
Then another hit. You find out doctors removed "about one-third" of her body--her left leg. With of this pain this young lady is still able to make the honor roll, go rock-climbing and even one-leg skiing. Amazing.
"We have recently learned the news that the cancer has continued to grow beyond the treatment and the procedures that we have taken," her mom drops on us.
Through all this sadness, through the mom crying, through Amanda crying, we are reminded of hope in the world.
"She has taught us that there is joy in the journey," her mom says through tears, "regardless of what that journey looks like."
You have a feeling of sadness. A feeling of connection. And a feeling of hope.
Good journalism and story-telling makes you feel. Makes you connect. Makes your heart stop.
The story of Amanda McDaniel does just that.
ALEX'S WINNING STORY
ALEX ROZIER'S WEB PAGE