10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 9, 2005
MORE THAN JUST
ANOTHER FACE IN THE CROWD
PHOTOSTORY BY TREVOR CAMPBELL 0 DAILY PHOTO EDITOR
S ight - a sense that people take for
granted - is one thing that 19-year-
old Lisa Michelle Medina of Mon-
trose, Mich. is not concerned with.
Medina is one of seven living peo-
ple in the world born with bilateral cranial
facial birth defects: Her facial structure did
not form properly in the womb.
"By all rights, I should be dead, because
I was swallowing my mom's amniotic fluid
for the nine months she was carrying me,"
Medina said. "My upper lip was split down
the middle, and my cheeks, around the area
where a persons eyes should be, weren't
formed. It was all open."
As a young child, she began a rigorous
regimen of what has totaled 60 surgeries at
the University's C.S. Mott Children's Hospi-
tal. Since she was born, she has been in the
care of Dr. Louis Argenta, who now works
at Wake Forest Hospital.
Having to deal with taking mountains of
medication, visiting doctors regularly and
battling depression throughout one's child-
hood is not an easy task. Throughout her
turmoil, Medina turned to music for sanc-
tuary. Growing up, her father was always
playing Spanish music around the house,
and she developed an early affinity for the
art. "It really hit me when I first heard the
song 'Pretty' by The Cranberries," she said.
"I could just relate to that song so much."
As years progressed, Medina's musi-
cal tastes evolved along with her emotions.
Depression set in, and the music she lis-
tened to took an aggressive twist. Hard rock
seemed to combat the pain in her life. Grow-
ing into an inescapable vacuum, music has
become her passion in life. "It's my saving
grace," Medina said. After contemplating
suicide many times and even coming close
to intentionally overdosing on pain medi-
cation, she battled her condition by letting
music be her guiding angel.
With a collection of over 800 albums,
Medina has recently started attending con-
certs in addition to listening to her music at
home. "When I'm at a'show, I feel accepted.
I feel like I'm one of them," Medina said.
"My dad takes me to shows, even though he
doesn't like the music."
On Wednesday, Medina attended the Non-
point concert at Six Shooters Concert Hall
in Saginaw. Medina has been listening to
Nonpoint since their first album but had lost
touch with their music for a couple of years.
Last fall, while she listened to the radio,
the band's Spanish-infused single "Rabia"
came on the air, and the familiar voice of
singer Elias Soriano caught her attention.
Eagerly awaiting the end of the song to find
out who the band was, she was sure it was
"I've been judged
all my life. First
by adults, who
used to follow my
parents in public,
pretending to look
around and shop,
but really eyeing
the strange oddity
in the shopping
cart, then by
kids all through
and, worst of
all, spit on.
them. "Being blind, you develop a real sense
for voices. Elias has one of those voices that
grabs you and you know you won't forget,"
Despite not being able to actually see the
performance, Medina showed more enthusi-
asm than many of the fans up front. Danc-
ing along and singing through the entire
set almost to the point of hoarseness, she
expressed her appreciation for the band.
Following their performance, she eagerly
awaited the group at their merchandise
table, where she stood with a bag of candy
for vocalist Soriano. "I heard in an interview
that he loved Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, so
I had to bring him some," Medina said. The
four members of the group all signed the T-
shirt she bought and thanked her for listen-
ing and coming out to their show. Medina
opened up to Soriano in tears. "You can stay
strong, sweetie," Soriano said to her.
Walking away from the concert in sheer
awe, she pondered whether the night's events
had happened or were just a surreal dream.
Even though she couldn't see them perform,
even though she couldn't put a face to her
idols, even though she can't see the auto-
graphs on her shirt, Lisa Michelle Medina
took away what no one else did from that
concert: a reason to live.
I was mainstreamed at 5 years old, and
the public school system was brutal and
hellish for me. I graduated early, and
have never looked back."
- Lisa Michelle Medina
- Lisa Michelle Medina
ABOVE LEFT: Nonpoint drummer Robb Rivera performs Wednesday at Six Shooters Concert Hall in Saginaw.
BOTTOM LEFT: Nonpoint vocalist Elias Soriano sings at the show.
BOTTOM CENTER: Soriano meets Lisa Michelle Medina after the show at the merchandise table.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Rivera greets Medina with a hug after the performance.
ABOVE RIGHT: Lisa's father Mark, 49, and sister Becca, 14, in their Montrose home.
ABOVE: Rivera signs the T-shirt Medina bought during the concert.