This story is so powerful.👏 Hannah Gavios’ long list of physical accomplishments is impressive. She is a certified yoga teacher, she regularly mountain climbs and ice-skates, and on Nov. 4 she is taking on the New York City Marathon ― on crutches. Gavios, now 25, became paralyzed in 2016 when, in an effort to escape an attacker, she fell off a 150-foot cliff in Thailand and fractured her spine. The attacker discovered her and proceeded to assault her for hours. The next morning, she was rescued and taken to a hospital in Phuket for a spinal fusion. While she still has function in her hips, quads and hamstrings, the injury has affected movement in areas like her ankles, feet, calves and glutes. She walks with a cane and uses her upper body strength to propel herself. “My parents flew in, and we were there for 18 days,” she recalled for HuffPost. “Then I was doing inpatient therapy at Mount Sinai Hospital [in New York], and since then I’ve just been recovering.” That recovery has included physical therapy and building up her other muscles to compensate for the ones that are paralyzed. While she has use of much of the lower half of her body, she is unable to feel her feet and ankles. She embarked on extensive physical therapy program, refusing to give up when things got tough. She even learned krav maga, a form of self-defense developed for the Israeli military. When her sister sent her a photo of Amanda Sullivan, a woman who crutched the New York City Marathon in 2017, Gavios’ newest challenge seemed clear. “It just inspired me so much to also do it,” she said. She is participating in the marathon on behalf of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to raise money for spinal cord injury research. “My goal right now is to run and be able to walk again without assistance,” she said. “I’m raising money for spinal cord injury research to speed up a process that will not only benefit me but 5.4 million Americans with paralysis.” She has so far raised almost $7,000 of a $15,000 goal. // Story by: @realgirlproject // 📸: Hannah Gavios
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