Four Years Later She Wakes Up: Family Thought Daughter Is Brain Dead.

Four years in a coma later, a small girl woke up. Still, no one was ready for her first words, and that was only the start.

(Victoria Arlen with her mother (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Born a triplet with two brothers, Victoria Arlen was a bright and vivacious child who loved dancing and was quite gifted in sports. That all turned around when she was eleven years old. Her health kept worsening while her family watched helplessly after she started flu-like symptoms and experienced fainting several times.

Extreme inflammation of her brain and spinal cord had a devastating impact on her life; within weeks, she became paralyzed from the waist down. Victoria finally lost her voice. She fell asleep, but her amazing narrative was far from finished. Four years later, she stunned not only her family but also doctors.

(Victoria Arlen (Photo Credit: Screen Capture/YouTube)

Victoria was kept alive using a feeding tube. Victoria could hear her loved ones even though her parents were advised she would not likely recover. Victoria couldn’t move her body when she first “woke up” mentally. Her body would not follow her instructions, even though she could hear conversations all around her. She wanted to react. Victoria had no means of informing others of her experiences.

She would stay a prisoner for years, “locked” inside her own body. She was there listening, but she couldn’t control her body, as though someone had turned off a switch. She heard doctors tell her family she was essentially brain dead and would be a vegetable for the rest of her life if she failed to react. They were mistaken, and shockingly, nobody else can tell you that better than Victoria herself.

(Victoria Arlen (Photo Credit: Screen Capture/YouTube)

But my parents believed in me. They looked after me after setting up a hospital room in our New Hampshire house. I am a triplet, and our older brother spoke with my three brothers to keep me informed about events outside of my room. They enabled me to muster strength and fight. ESPN reported that Victoria said, “They didn’t know I could hear them, but I could.”

Victoria was totally lost in her vegetative state almost four years after falling into a coma. Her amazing recovery started when she could at last blink on demand and make eye contact with her mother. She then started to move a finger, then waved her hand as she gradually came under control of her body. She started eat as well. She started speaking once more at last, first building single words, then whole sentences.

(Victoria Arlen (Photo Credit: Screen Capture/YouTube)
(Victoria Arlen (Photo Credit: Facebook)

One thing she couldn’t do even with her amazing recovery. Victoria was informed that her brain and spinal cord swelling had permanently damaged her and rendered her permanently paralysed from the waist down. Her legs would not move, and experts advised her to get used to using a wheelchair.

Once more, Victoria showed she had the will few others could even fathom as she battled overwhelming challenges; it was not easy. As she got back to school, she struggled and even bullied others. Like before, though, Victoria discovered the turning point she needed.

(Victoria Arlen swimming as a young girl (left) and as a paraplegic (right) (Photo Credit: Facebook, Screen Capture/YouTube)

Not unfamiliar with water, Victoria had grown up close to a lake and early on learned to swim. She had even been on a swim team, competing before she went into a coma. Victoria, though, worried she would never swim again without her legs. Thank goodness her brothers threw her into the family pool and saw differently.

Though she was initially terrified, it was exactly what she needed. She surprised and delightedly turned out to be a strong swimmer; she was released from her chair in the water. She discovered the confidence she had been lacking with that freedom and then joined the U.S. team competing in the 2012 Paralympic Olympic Games, where she took home three silver medals and one gold in the 100-meter freestyle, so setting a new world record. Her success sent Victoria to the front stage. Invited to speak as a lecturer, she started to enthrall viewers by sharing her story with reporters.

(Victoria Arlen (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Her wheelchair still bothered her, though. She and her mother thus temporarily relocated to San Diego so Victoria could take part in the Project Walk program, which aids in the recovery of leg use for those with paralysis. Victoria missed home, of course, though.

Victoria said, “We realized this was the place that could help me, but we didn’t want to live hundreds of miles away from my brothers and dad,” Then she said, “family decided to open the first Project Walk franchise on the East Coast.” She went on, “This way, I could train every day and achieve my goal, while others in my hometown could regain the hope they needed.”

(Victoria Arlen with her brothers (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Professionals stayed dubious; one doctor even told her parents he wouldn’t “mortgage his house” to bet Victoria would ever be able to walk again, exactly what they did to afford to open a Project Walk Boston. Six years after Victoria first “woke up,” she held in a harness above a treadmill with two coaches helping her move her legs. Victoria then took her first little steps.

Though it was no easy task, she did not stop there. She got up and worked for hours every single day toward her objective. Her will finally allowed her to walk with crutches, discard the assistive devices and walk on her own. “Walking is still difficult and I still have major impairment,” she said. But my battle is now less obvious.

(Victoria Arlen (Photo Credit: Facebook)

She said, “But it’s all worth it,” of the work required for her to keep advancing. She said, “It’s been 10 years since I was able to look someone in the eye instead of staring at everyone’s butts all day, referring to the unfortunate position she finds herself in when seated in a wheelchair.”

Declaring she was not sure how others would treat her when she first got out of her wheelchair, she said, “But then I realized this is my journey and maybe it can give hope to people who most need it.” Victoria is not only a Paralympic gold medallist today; she also runs programs for the ESPN sports channel and, more importantly, is a survivor.

(Victoria Arlen (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Victoria Arlen is literally a walking, talking miracle and an amazing inspiration following her stormy ten-year path. She does, however, make sure to note, “I am thankful for everyone who has helped me thus; I did not do this on my own. Every day, I grow more at ease with my changed reality. Saying that she considered her first steps to be her finish line, she continued, “But really, they were only the beginning.”

Brave, tenacious, and inspirational Victoria Arlen started an amazing journey and refused to let loss define her. She uses her struggle as an opportunity to inspire and motivate others who are considering quitting since the likelihood seems against them. Helen Keller said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” One cannot do without hope and confidence. We appreciate Victoria demonstrating for us exactly how accurate that is.

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