“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Will you take my breath away?
I remember the glistening rain falling down my cheeks as a six-year-old growing up in Bacolod, a small town in southern Philippines. I remember splashing in the puddles and thinking that life couldn’t get any better. The rain was weightless, unpredictable, and enchanting. I looked forward to it every year to cool down the blistering summers. But one day after I had been playing in the rain, I found myself gasping for air as my grandmother rushed me to an emergency room. This was the day I was diagnosed with severe early-onset childhood asthma, a condition that I live with to this day.
I never knew what would trigger my next attack. The world was vast yet suddenly dangerous. With the shadow of fear cast over me, I lost that childlike curiosity to discover the pirates hiding in my garden; to chase after my dog, Sasha; to travel to far off places that I had never been. I lost my will to explore as I lived in fear that it would cause me to take my last breath and so I stopped searching for my next adventure.
Nevertheless, having lived with the condition for most of my life, I've learned to manage my symptoms. And although I chose not to be a scientist, a doctor, or a researcher, I still dream of one day finding the cure to help the 300 million people who live with the same ailment. Instead, I've chosen to be an entrepreneur – one who will not only invest in cutting-edge research but also fund organizations that will provide support and education to families and their children. I can only hope for a day when each child could be free to live dangerously – to find that hidden treasure, to be chased by her ferocious canine, and to finally take that deep, long-awaited breath of crisp air on top of a mountain that she had once only dreamed of scaling – experiences that should take her breath away!
— Kristie Gan
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
More Portrait Project
Harvard Business SchoolDillon HouseSoldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163