Photo by: Robert Zuckerman

I was bedridden with a life-threatening disease that a litany of doctors misdiagnosed. I was told that I had MS, Lou Gehrig's disease, cancer or that it could be all in my head. If a doctor tells you that something is seriously wrong, but there is no consensus of what it is, fear takes over. So, for three years, all I could do was to hold on for dear life.

My loving family became like strangers. They didn't know what to believe. They no longer recognized me. I no longer recognized them. One by one, they abandoned me. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my heart. Even though I was in excruciating pain from my "mystery" disease, the pain of being left behind was worse. Feeling like a burden, my self-worth faded into nothingness.

While bed-ridden, I read about a 1943, pure copper penny that was worth $250,000. A penny? How could that be? Goosebumps covered my arms. I had found my hero... a penny that was perceived to be worthless, and yet...

Even more amazing, the pure copper penny was made by mistake. According to the American Numismatic Association, the reason that the 1943, pure copper penny is worth so much is because most pennies were struck in zinc-coated steel. There are still approximately 30 1943 rare pennies out there. That's right! You could have one of them in your pocket this very minute and not even know it.

For so long I had been at the top of my game, working on a $26 million dollar pavilion with Disney and Universal consultants; being the Director of Development for Citibank, FL, for 19 branches; creating and producing all kinds of entertaining productions. Now, all I thought about was that lowly penny: day and night. It was my personal totem.

I began to write The Luckiest Penny which included: a book, an all original, interactive musical and a self-worth curriculum. The central story is about Allister, who is a 1943, rare, pure copper penny who is uncirculated and in mint condition. He taunts Henry, who is also a 1943, rare, pure copper penny, but definitely not in mint condition. Henry has been in the garbage can; been somebody's lucky penny; gone on a wild roller-coaster ride in a washing machine and has lived many other adventures.

My mission was to explore which one was worth more and why. The outcome of the story has a surprise twist. Not realizing it, I was writing my very own story of hope.

Finally, after years on the sidelines, a brilliant doctor figured out what was wrong and I hademergency, lifesaving surgery. With my new found life force, I promised myself that I would become the champion for those who had lost their self-worth.

After the surgery I started to get my life back. Enthusiastically, I went on to finish The Luckiest Penny. It was performed for Ability Explosion and over 500, elementary aged, special ability children, within the Miami Beach school system. Then, SUNY University's Occupational Therapy Department, adopted the musical to share with their occupational therapy population on an ongoing basis.

During those productions, I acted as a Self-Worth Facilitator.  After seeing the production, I encouraged the children to share who was worth more and why. There were no wrong answers. By asking for their honest feedback, their teachers, parents and professionals at the production, could hear their unfiltered beliefs about what they REALLY believed about themselves and others.

They weren't being told what to do. These brilliant children were creating solutions for themselves!

From that time on, I've been developing stories, musicals and innovative ideas that will change how we can focus on the solutions: which is to build children's self-worth so that they can stand up for themselves. We can tell our youth what to do. Or, we can show them the way!

Oh, and the penny... over the years it has become even more rare and valuable. The last one sold went for 1.7 million dollars! Maybe pennies are lucky after all! That's why my goal is the inspire 1.7 million people, ages 3 to 103, to re-claim their self-worth!
And me? I now laugh wildly and understand profoundly! My goal in life is to share with others that, no matter how you feel or what you are going through, your inherent worth has NEVER been tarnished. Let's just say that you had a little bit more of an adventure than the person who is sitting right next to you.
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To learn more about me, push the button below and it will take you to the Deborah Weed website!