She’s So Inspiring – Lydia Ness

She's so inspiring

My life has been touched by some uber amazing women whose passion for life and the way they  choose to live it have really inspired me. Some are bloggers, some are not, their lives are all different and  they are all special. I feel honoured and privileged that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!

Meet Lydia Ness.

Lydia lives in Chicago and I live in Sydney. Three years ago we were both fighting thyroid cancer. Instagram and cancer brought us together. On her blog, Lydia explains our online friendships like this, they “changed everything. I know their stories, and they know mine. Our struggles, our triumphs…my little support group. Sometimes social media can be–dare I say–beautiful.” I would have to agree.

I have never taken for granted how lucky I have been with both my diagnosis, treatment and how well the cancer responded. The last three years for Lydia have been crazy to say the least. She’s had four surgeries, unsuccessful radioactive iodine treatment, extensive nerve damage throughout her neck and right shoulder, low energy, little metabolism and hundreds of needles. Yet despite all that, she has still managed to realise her dream of going to law school, she still keeps steadfast in her faith and still tirelessly works to improve the quality of life for others through her legal work.

Lydia is an incredible human being. I’m sure you’ll agree, she’s so inspiring.

She's so inspiring - Lydia Ness

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Lydia Ness, and I am a rising 3L law student in the great city of Chicago. I adore this city and the people in it. I came to law school because of my passion to fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and this interest has broadened during my legal education. As long as I end up helping people who cannot afford attorneys, I will be happy.
I grew up writing and playing music, so this competitive law school thing has been interesting for me. With the added complication of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer shortly before starting school, these last couple years have been extremely formative in the way I think and approach the world. My awareness of injustices around the world, in this country, and in my city has heightened and my passion for addressing this issues has gone off the charts. I don’t know where I will end up in this journey, but I’m enjoying the ride!

Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not. 

I am a morning person.
I am passionate.
I am focused.

I am not alone.
I am not afraid of change.
I am not a fan of heights.

Complete this sentence, ____________________  changed my life. How and why?

Thyroid cancer changed my life. It taught me to loosen my grip on the littlest details of my physical health, because so much is not in my control any more. It taught me to stop obsessing about my weight; it taught me to appreciate days full of energy; it taught me to listen to my body and rest when I need to; and most of all, it taught me to be thankful and joyful. Always.

She's so inspiring - Lydia Ness

What has been life’s greatest lesson?

Life has taught me that Jesus wants me to love others unconditionally – without expectations. I believe there is really no greater reason to be alive

What is your biggest achievement?

I am most proud of cycling from Cincinnati, Ohio to Washington D.C. with Venture Expeditions. We rode to raise awareness and money to support International Justice Mission and their fight to end modern-day slavery. This group was a beautiful picture of what it means to love others.

She's so inspiring - Lydia Ness

What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?

My toughest obstacle was completing my first year of law school while undergoing my third surgery and various treatments for thyroid cancer. I pushed through with the support of family and friends, and by the grace of God, finished the year strong.

She's so inspiring - Lydia Ness

Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?

My purpose is to follow Jesus and love people like he did, pursuing justice and peace for the “least of these.”

What are your words to live by?

“No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath… We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?”

-Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

If you could have any mentor, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

I would like Bob Goff to be my mentor. He’s an author and attorney with a mission to love others fiercely and to be fully present and available for others. He uses his legal training in a way that is changing the world, and I hope to do the same.

If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?

Travel – I would just GO wherever my car could take me and bring my camera along. I love driving without a destination and seeing what I can find.

You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?

My biggest outlets are playing music and exercising. Both of these things give me time to take a deep breath and be thankful.

She's so inspiring - Lydia Ness

Thank you for sharing, Lydia.

Let Lydia inspire you a little bit more…

on the blog 

on instagram 

and on twitter