Being trapped inside your own body unable to move or communicate and without anyone, including yourself, realizing you are still there might sound like the worst nightmare one could imagine. Unfortunately, that was the living hell the 11-year-old Victoria Arlen went through.

This girl used to be vibrant and lived her life to the fullest, but over time she experienced loss of mobility in her legs and quickly vent into vegetative state. Her parents could only witness their loving girl deteriorating in front of their eyes, unable to do anything to help her.

It all started when Victoria experienced flu-like symptoms and believed it will pass in just a couple of days. The truth was way more horrifying as she stopped having control on her arms and couldn’t swallow properly. 

After slipping into a coma, it was around two years that she was completely unaware of what was happening around her, as she was placed at a hospital’s bed and fed through a tube. However, after those two years, Victoria ‘woke up’ mentally. She could hear everything and everyone, but as her body was still not cooperating and she was completely unable to move any part of it, no one knew she was actually still there; aware of her surrounding, but trapped.

She heard the doctors telling her parents how she was brain-dead and she would spend the rest of her life in the vegetative state she found herself in.

In December of 2009, however, she managed to make eye contact with her family, and by 2010, this brave girl was completely out of the vegetative state. Incredible, isn’t it?

After waking up, Victoria told ESPN, “My parents believed in me. They set up a hospital room in our house in New Hampshire, and took care of me. My three brothers — I’m a triplet and we have an older brother — talked to me and kept me in the know about what was going on outside of my room. They empowered me to fight and get stronger. They didn’t know I could hear them, but I could.”

The four years of struggling were now over, and this vibrant lady could again speak and eat all by herself.

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But, she still wasn’t able to move her legs. Doctors’ prognosis were that she will never walk again. So, Victoria found herself wheelchair bound. 

On the first day of school after waking up from the coma, her classmates were far from considerate and compassionate. They bullied her and made fun of her, which crushed Victoria’s will to fight further. Luckily, it was just a temporary feeling, as this girl is nothing less than a real fighter. 

As time passed by, her brothers though she should go back to swimming, as she used to be great doing it. Although hesitant at first, Victoria dove into the waters and that’s where she felt free again. 

In 2012, at just 17 years old, Victoria took part at the Paralympic Olympic Games as part of the US swimming team and won a gold medal in the 100 meter freestyle. 

In 2013, Victoria moved to San Diego to participate in the Project Walk program. There, she worked with professionals who help paralyzed people with their walking.

It was only two years later, in 2015, when Victoria took her first small step. And she never stopped walking ever since.

This young lady’s story is indeed an incredible and a miraculous one. It speaks of courage, bravery, and never ever giving up.

 

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