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Eight life-defining moments that will take your breath away (PHOTOS)

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"Three amazing men; One Amazing God!"

PRESENTED BY:  Cognizine: Increase Your Capacity for Life

Last week, we asked Blaze readers to send us the greatest moment of their lives, captured in a photo. What came back were some of the most inspiring, courageous and touching pictures we’ve ever seen. Each one tells a compelling story that will make you grateful to be alive. Be prepared to tear up, count your blessings and celebrate life.

Liver Transplant

1. “My brother, Reed Strutzenberg (far right), was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease only curable by a liver transplant. Joel Ekberg, Reed's liver donor (center) is a brave young man from Reed's church who felt led to help; and Jerry Sorrenson (left), a complete stranger, who was able to receive Reed's liver, which saved his life too! Complicated, but a miracle. This type of 'domino transplant' is probably only performed once a year, at most, at Mayo Clinic because of how rare this disease is. This was their first meeting after the surgery. We were all crying with joy and thankful for God's hand in this miracle. All are doing extremely well 8 months later! Three amazing men; One Amazing God!"

Ice Rink

2. "This is a photo of me (on the left) and my son Adrian (on the right.) It was our sons 23rd birthday in Dec 2006. He wanted to go ice skating for his birthday because 'Dad...I've never been ice skating...let's go.' He was an instant natural on those skates. He was skating backwards in 30 minutes. It was crazy impressive. I was the diametric opposite. I was scared to death and floundering. He thought it would be fun to pull me around the rink and make fun of his old man. It was such a blast. It was a great day! It turned out to be my last interaction with my son. He was killed 6 days later while riding his motorcycle on the way to his future in laws house for Sunday dinner. I cherish that moment and photo as the most important moment in my life.

Disease

3. “This is my best moment, the final day of an almost month long hospital stay. My second chance at life. Doctors didn't know if I'd make it that first night, because they couldn't figure out what was going on. I had a collapsed lung, pneumonia in both and kidney failure. Ended up five days in the ICU after a procedure that they described to my parents as the most painful they had ever performed. I needed dialysis 20 out of the 23 days while in the hospital and now currently am still on dialysis, waiting for a kidney transplant.  This photo was taken without me knowing by my mom as I said one final prayer as I got ready to leave for home. This was not only the best moment because I was going home, but because I thank The Lord for His strength, the work of doctors, nurses and the love and support I got from family and friends. A second chance at life isn't given to everyone, but I got mine and the moment of prayer in a photo.”

Sponsor's Note: We’re grateful for your life, and your heartfelt story.  Living life to the fullest is what Cognizine is all about, and they help Americans test their full memory capacity, in a way that’s fun, challenging and invigorating.

Russian

4. “The moment I adopted my son Ruslan (now 'Reese') from a Russian orphanage.  He is a triple amputee, and doomed to life in a "Lying Down" room in an asylum as soon as he turned 5 years old.  Fortunately, he became my son at age 4, and he never had to go to that hell hole.  This boy has been the biggest blessing in my entire life.  There is something special about him that sets him apart, which draws people to him. He wants to work in the Russian ambassador's office so he can garner goodwill between the countries and show the government officials that a "defective" child can be somebody and does not need to be institutionalized and kept in a bed 24 hours a day until they die.  His heart is gold and adopting him was MY 'Best Moment.'”

Wildflowers

5. “This photo was taken July 25 2010, trying to stay active and enjoy the area where we live we decided to ride mountain bikes.  Reality and my dreams never end up even close to one another.  I tend to want way more out of an experience than my ability could ever take me. The trail was often hard and the final push put tears in my daughter’s eyes.  But for one moment we broke out of the trees into the open only to see one of the most beautiful sites.  The trail was nice and smooth and the fields were full of wildflowers. It was epic!  All the hard work had paid off when you experience God’s great earth in a moment like that with the people you love the most.  I didn't even realize how much I was living my dream until I saw the photo my wife took of me and the kids.  Every time I see it I get the feeling I had being there.  It truly was a moment to treasure.”

Baby

6. “This is a very special photo of my daughters.  In December 2010 my second child was born with a fatal condition called anencephaly.  She was not expected to live if she even made it to full term at all.  Anencephaly is a condition that occurs in the first few weeks of pregnancy.  The neural tube fails to close completely which results in the baby's skull not forming on the top of the head.  It leaves the child's brain exposed and is not compatible with life. Our daughter Faith Elizabeth was born with this condition, her case was severe. Her skull failed to form from her eyebrows upwards. She was not expected to even take a breath.  She had been born with only her brain stem intact. On December 27th 2010 at 7:57 in the morning Faith Elizabeth was born! She took her first breath! She opened her eyes! She cried and cooed! She was a MIRACLE. She lived for a glorious 18 hours and was able to meet her big sister Julianna as shown in this picture.  As their mother this was an incredible and precious moment in my life caught on film.  And I now have this picture to look back on for the rest of my life, to remember my daughter who is now with Jesus.”

Paulsy Girl-editted

7. “Yesterday it was my privilege to watch my five-year-old daughter,Ruby, who has cerebral palsy, dance in a national talent contest.  Her performance, with her enthusiasm and smile, brought the crowd to its feet.  I share this because she has been an inspiration to me and others with her sweet face and personality.  Ruby has encouraged many dancers, as well as physical therapists to raise the bar on what can be expected from young people like Ruby.  She continues to amaze me and propels me through each and every day.”

Hopeful baby

8. “This is my son, Jase, only a few short days after a complicated open heart procedure performed shortly after his birth. From the moment he arrived he was suffering and tense, this was the first moment that he truly relaxed having no more hoses or wires or tubes. It was in this moment I felt that all of my prayers had been heard. I have many more pictures from before the surgery and since, but none had the power of this one.”

Sponsor's Note: Sometimes life can take your breath away without a moment’s notice. We want you to treasure each priceless memory. Continue the adventure with Cognizine.

Special thanks to Richard Deitsch who inspired this post.

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