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E222 Sandbar Hallway

Surfside, South Carolina, 29575

Senior Digital Exploration Judges
St. James High School
10800 Highway 707
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Dear Judges:
Good Evening, I hope you all are doing well tonight. I would like to start off by
introducing myself. My name is Michael LaManna, and I started High School here at St.
James and I am proud to say I am finishing here as well. I was born in Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina and have lived in the same home my entire life. For me, growing up in a
small town such as Garden City was very boring. During summertime your only source
of fun was something involved with the ocean, but wintertime was always a struggle for
a good time. With this in mind, as a child I was prone to getting injured. The reason
being is because during those cold winters the only source of entertainment was
typically fueled by stupidity. With boredom in your head, and stupidity in your heart a
good time usually ended with a hospital visit.
Sadly, as I was frequently visiting the hospital because of my foolishness, my mother
started visiting for a different reason. My mother was taken to the hospital in fears some
vile sickness wouldnt leave. During my last year of middle school my mother became
bedridden for about three whole months. My family and I found out that my Mother was
diagnosed with Pneumonia and COPD, but that is not all we found out. While she was
there she decided to ask the doctor about the growing pains coming from her knees,
and that is when the scary truth came into play. Her whole life my Mother was a very
hands on, hardworker and believed that you do not start on the top but work to get to
there. Well, I believe working takes a tole on the body, and that is exactly what
happened. On both of her knees the cartilage that joins the bones was completely gone.
After years of working for her worth, her knees were in so much use that the two bones
rubbed away the cartilage and were rubbing together. Once we discovered all of this
tragic news all we could do were things to make her feel better. My mom underwent two
major knee surgeries and is still to this day having breathing treatment conducted. With
this all happening within a year period, you could imagine the amount of pain she has
experienced. With all the steroids and prescribed opioids my Mother was taking for help
and pain relief, weakened her bone marrow tremendously. Her bones weakened to the
point that she broke her hip bone just from rolling over in her sleep. After witnessing all

the tragedies from money loss, physical dependency, and evidently more pain that my
own Mother experiences I decided to research alternatives for pain relief.
The Senior Exploration for me has been a great learning opportunity. I learned a
plentiful amount of information about the dangers and health risks of prescription
opioids. For as serious as my fear of needles are, having acupuncture conducted on
myself was a significant accomplishment. I believe my biggest obstacle that I am still
facing is helping my Mother not face stress, dependency, or pain any longer. This
project inevitability helped me to become and better researcher and writer. Researching
this topic honestly opened up my eyes to the dangers and truth about drugs.
Finally, I would like to thank you for taking the time and allowing me the opportunity to
share my research on the topic I am especially passionate about.

Michael LaManna
Michael LaManna