Last year, Donna Owen participated in a race in her electric wheelchair in order to help raise money for charity. This year, she did the same thing again…except that this time she decided to stop her wheelchair about 10 meters from the finish line and walk the rest of the way. If this sounds like a small thing, you have no idea what Donna went through to accomplish this feat!
Donna, who is 36 years old and has cerebral palsy, used to be able to walk indoors with the help of a walking frame. At the time, she would still not have attempted to ditch the walking frame and walk on her own, but it was not necessarily unthinkable either. But then, at the age of 19, Donna suffered a stroke, and she had not walked again since then.
After participating in the race last year, however, she decided that this was something she wanted to accomplish the next time the race came around. She began working with her physical therapist intensely – working to build her strength, improve her balance, and put herself in a position to conquer that distance that seemed, early on, like it may as well have been miles.
When the day came, those watching the end of the race knew what was coming, and they rose to their feet and cheered Donna as she took that first step. Then the next step. Then the next. By the time she covered those 10 meters, there was not a dry eye to be found. As for Donna herself, she was so locked in – so entirely and fully focused – on the task at hand that she did not even realize, at first, she had crossed the finish line. In a daze, she listened to the roar of the crowd as they celebrated her accomplishment.
Donna undertook this challenge in the hope that she could prove to others that they can accomplish what they hope to accomplish if they set their mind on the task and work toward their goal – and with those steps across the finish line, this was exactly what she proved!