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October 3rd, 2012
09:05 AM ET

'Lil JaXe' finds refuge in rap

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. Jake Zeldin, 13, endured a lot of bullying, from classmates and even some teachers, all because he has a severe stutter. Then he discovered rap. He took the stage at the "We Day" event in Toronto, Ontario, last month.

September 28, 2012, was the most awesome moment that I have ever experienced in my whole entire life. My first reaction was that I was so excited. I could not wait to get to the Air Canada Center and rock the stage.

After two weeks of practicing, I was about to go on the same stage as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Elton John and all of my other favorites. So many emotions were running through my head.

I started thinking about how different my life was a year ago - how it was so hard to get through a day because of the way people teased me and bullied me. All I wanted to do was to show people how well I could rap. It was the only thing I wanted to do.

Every chance I got, I tried to get in front of the right people to show them my talent. When you finally find your voice, you can't wait to use it. I've always had so much to say, but now that I found the way to share my mind and let the words flow, I wanted the whole world to hear me. The more people doubted me and teased me, the more it pushed me to try harder and harder to get noticed.

Today, that was all behind me.

As I got dressed, my heart raced as I thought about all of my fans and the people who were looking up to me to succeed. I knew I had to do it for everyone who ever had an obstacle to get over and a dream that they so badly wanted to come true.

I've had so many incredible moments but this was so far the best of them all. I could feel the power as I waited backstage.  I quickly peeked out into the crowd and saw the whole entire stadium filled with eager fans. I tweeted that I was going on just to help make it real.

We Day is about sharing and living a life of giving because you get so much back when you help others. I want to speak out; I've gotta speak up.  I want to reach out and stand up. I won't stand for all of what I had to take cause there's a better world and we can make it better together. That is what We Day was about for me, and there I was about to share my moment and my message with thousands of people.

I was really there. People were screaming and cheering. I finally heard my name being announced. I wanted to respond, but I was frozen with fear. Then something came over me and I knew that I was meant to do this.

I ran on stage and looked down at 20,000 people staring back at me. They were shouting my name, waving their arms and cheering me on. The most amazing feeling came over me; I realized that my whole struggle up to this point was meant for this amazing moment and others that hopefully will follow.

I opened up my mouth to rap and the crowd went crazy. They jumped to their feet and I could not believe that this was all for me: My beats, my words and sound rapping about what I know and what I have felt.

Because at the end of the day, I am just a kid with a dream.


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