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This Woman Went From Being Brain Dead To Being A Paralympian Gold Medalist


While everyone faces challenges, not everyone expects those challenges to be life-threatening. This woman was told by doctors that she would not survive. But, her perseverance led her to the podium of a famous athletic event.

Growing Up Tough

Victoria Arlen grew up in Exeter, New Hampshire. She had three brothers and was the only girl. Being surrounded by her brothers sparked a love of sports and dance. Victoria was an energetic, happy child. She was always on the move. Then when Victoria was 11 years old, everything changed.

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Victoria came down with a terrible flu. She began fainting and had a hard time breathing. Her parents knew something was wrong. When severe back and side pain set in, she was taken to the hospital and had her appendix removed. From there, Victoria’s health continued to decline.

Going Brain Dead

Shortly after her surgery, Victoria became unable to move or speak. She was in a vegetative state, where doctors believed she would remain for the rest of her life. However, Victoria was more aware than doctors had realized. She could hear everything they were saying and decided she was going to fight for her life.

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She was taken home where her parents and brothers encouraged her, talked to her, and empowered her to get better. Four years later, Victoria began making small movements. She was able to make eye contact with her mom for the first time since she became sick.

Getting The Gold

Victoria had always loved swimming. So her brothers strapped her into a life jacket and took her swimming. Her muscles slowly started to recover. Soon, she was able to paddle on her own. Then she learned to walk on her own. Her progress was happening quickly and her family decided to move to San Diego where she could continue her swimming training every day.

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She had found her purpose. Every moment was spent training for the Paralympics. Victoria and her family flew to England where she competed for the gold and won. At that point, she was still in a wheelchair. It wasn’t until 10 years after the incident that she was finally able to walk again. She has since gone on to compete on Dancing With the Stars.

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