“It was the most terrifying and beautiful moment of my life.” – Kaily Baldwin

 

“I am lucky to be alive. I went into anaphylactic shock in the middle of the woods. We were hiking out at a remote spot where there was no cell reception and my whole body was rejecting me, trying to shut down. I swelled up severely and was covered in hives, choking for air. I didn’t know I had any allergies at that point, so I didn’t have an Epipen with me. Blood left my limbs to keep my heart and organs going. My friend, who at that time had three slipped discs in his back tried to carry me because I was struggling to breathe. I had 15 minutes to live when search and rescue arrived. That was the most terrifying moment of my life, but it was the most beautiful because I learned to appreciate every single breath and every single day. Unfortunately, my allergies are still unknown, so it can happen any time. It’s a game of chance and there is no knowing. I had to have a conversation with myself after the first attack. When you’re lying there dying, you have a little time to think about your life and I don’t ever want to get to that point again and think, ‘I wish I had gone outside more, done more or travelled more but most importantly: I wish I didn’t live in fear.’ I try to live my life to the fullest and do my best. I paint and create west coast inspired art from talent my grandmother left me. I travel the world and experience new things. I climb mountains and surf with seals playing beside me. I cherish the people I live around because they are amazing. To thank them I started ‘Nominate a Neighbour’ over the holidays. People filled ballots with nominations of awesome people. Every morning for two weeks, I drew a winner, announced it on the radio, and then surprised them with a gift basket. It was amazing. I am grateful for this beautiful life.”