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Day 11: Someone I Would Like To Meet

Oh man, this is a tough one today. There are so many people that I would just love to meet, such as The Rock (I mean he would be an awesome lifting buddy and his dog is so cute), Rascal Flatts (since my sister met them I have wanted to meet them forever), and Emma Stone (she is so freaking funny and I love her personality). Then there are those that have already left this earth like Judy Garland, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Princess Diana. So to be quite honest, this is hard to choose, but there is one person I would love to meet because of how her life changed within the last 2 years. She was my favorite swimmer back in 1996 at the Atlanta Games and was my inspiration for wanting to become a swimmer. This person is Amy Van Dyken.

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Amy was a sprinter and a flyer and has won 6 gold medals between Atlanta and Sydney. One of the main reasons I liked her right away was that she constantly had a smile on her face and in interviews was a positive person about every aspect in life and in her races, whether they went the way she wanted them to or not. She also endured trials because a place where she went was accused of doping, but she never did. She was and still is a great role model for young girls.

In 2014 I just happened to see on her Instagram that she was in an accident that severed her spinal cord leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. My first thought was “Oh my gosh, she will never get to swim again, she must be devastated”. I am sure she was, but Amy posted updates frequently about her progress and never once I have seen anything remotely negative or that she felt sorry for herself. What I have seen is that she has learned to work with what happened to her, has and still goes through extensive physical therapy in order to build her strength up in her legs, core, and upper body. Currently she has been working on using a sort of exoskeleton and has been walking with it. Now, more than ever the water has been there for her as she can use it as a mode of therapy to build up her strength.

So, having said all this, I want to meet Amy Van Dyken because to me she is inspiring to all sorts of populations. Women, men, children, people who can walk, people who cannot walk, regardless, she inspires everybody. I would love to ask her how she does it and what she would say to others who have been in an accident and how they can overcome it in a more positive light. I would love to know about how her therapy has been beneficial and what she is doing to raise awareness about paralysis. I would want to find a way to help and use that to help others in turn.

-Courtny

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