After Paralyzing Fall, Woman Will Run in TCS NYC Marathon - NBC New York

After Paralyzing Fall, Woman Will Run in TCS NYC Marathon

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    Paralyzed Woman to Run NYC Marathon

    A woman survived a terrifying attack in Thailand, falling from a cliff while trying to escape her attacker. Though she was told she would never walk again, this weekend she plans to run in the NYC Marathon, despite not being able to feel her ankles or feet. Roseanne Colletti with the story.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018)

    The last time Hannah Gavios was able to run, it was in terror.

    But nearly two years after that run sent her off the edge of a 150-foot cliff and left her partially paralyzed from the waist down, she will be lacing up her sneakers for the TCS New York City Marathon.

    The 25-year-old was teaching English in Southeast Asia and took a vacation in Thailand and tumbled off the cliff while running from an attacker.

    “I fell 150 feet off a cliff because someone was trying to assault me and I ran from him,” Gavios said.

    AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

    The fall resulted in a spinal cord injury that required her to undergo surgery and a spinal fusion. And even today, she cannot feel her ankles and feet.

    Doctors were doubtful she'd ever walk again, let alone run.

    Now, the graphic artist from Astoria plans to run in the marathon with help from her crutches and is sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, a charity organization dedicated to curing spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders.

    Gavios' gait is a little different from the other 50,000 competing. Each step -- she puts a pair of crutches in front of her and then springs her legs through like a pendulum.

    She expects to finish the race in 10 to 12 hours, but she said the race is about much more than her finishing time.

    "I also just want to encourage other people with any limitations," she said. "Anybody that's in a dark place, there's always light at the end of the tunnel. 

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