Victoria Arlen – Unstoppable Inspiration

In 2006, at the age of 11, Victoria Arlen developed a strong pain in her side.  It turned into a fight for survival – she was diagnosed with 2 extremely rare neurological conditions which attacked her spine and brain, leaving her in a vegetative state.  Doctors said it was a hopeless situation and told her parents if she survived (and it was likely she wouldn’t), she would never walk or talk or function normally.  The diseases would leave her with severe neurological deficits.  In Victoria’s own words: “In the experts’ eyes there was nothing that could be done. Except they failed to realize one thing….

“I was still here.”

She was locked inside a body that was unable to speak or move, unable to tell the doctors or her family that she could still think and hear.

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Bill Amos – Brave Yoga for PTSD

photo courtesy of Bill Amos Photography

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. The anxiety after such trauma may decrease with time but if the person continues to have difficulty adjusting and coping,  interfering with day-to-day functioning and causing significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships, finding an effective treatment can be critical.  (mayoclinic.org)

Bill Amos is a native of Northern New Jersey who was diagnosed with PTSD following a traumatic accident.  His early love of nature landed him a kayaking instructor position creating long hours in beautiful places but in cramped conditions, resulting in tingly toes and tight hamstrings. In 2007, wanting to enjoy all of his time on the water he took the advice of a friend to try yoga.

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April – Limb Loss Awareness, Education and Empowerment

During the month of April across the United States, amputee support groups, veterans, prosthetists, rehabilitation centers and those with limb loss will be participating in a number of activities in their local areas to raise awareness.

“Limb loss is not uncommon and is becoming less uncommon every day,”  says Susan Stout, Amputee Coalition president & CEO “Many people are unaware of the causes of amputation and often see limb loss in just a few categories: the wounded warrior or the accomplished athlete. The fact is, limb loss affects every generation, from young to old and people from all walks of life. More than 2 million Americans live with limb loss and that number grows by 185,000 each year. “

Many people with limb loss have become mentors and advocates to others, raising public awareness and educating on adaptability, prevention and making yourself heard.  This month we’d like to highlight just a few of these people.

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Paralympics Athletes – All Inspiring Winners

The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games are taking place between March 9 and March 18th this year, featuring up to 670 athletes, a 24 per cent increase on the 539 athletes that competed at Sochi 2014 with a 44 per cent increase in the number of female athletes. Athletes compete in 80 medal events across six sports:  cross-country skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, snowboard and wheelchair curling.

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Empire State Building Run-Up – an inspiration

The  41st Annual Empire State Building Run-Up is the first and most famous tower race in the world, challenging runners to race up its famous 86 flights – 1,576 steps, a vertical distance of 1,050 feet.  The 2018 ESBRU took place on Wednesday evening, February 7th, sponsored by Turkish Airlines and joined by the Challenged Athletes Foundation.  CAF is the world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active and healthy lifestyles and encouraging independence.

More than 200 people from around the world raced up the 86 stories to the famed observation deck. The CAF runners fundraise to help raise awareness and much-needed donations so people with permanent physical challenges gain access to adaptive sports equipment, athletic training, an active lifestyle, community and mentorship.  Each CAF runner raises a minimum of $2500 for the charity.

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