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THE PATH TO INDEPENDENCE

“Early on, I decided that I was going to become completely independent no matter how long it took.”

During a car accident, Beth’s spinal cord was cut at C6-7 by shattered bone. She had quadriplegia with four limbs impaired. Fourteen years old, she focused on how to be less dependent. In the rehab pool, she learned how to float with her arms gently waving under the surface. Three years later, Beth competed with all of the swim strokes on the U.S. Paralympic National Swim Team. Four years after her injury, when she moved from a small town in Ohio to a freshman dorm at Harvard College, she needed no assistant for personal care, a rare feat for quads.

“Becoming independent. That is my greatest achievement.”

The greatest, yes, but not her last. Beth swam on the Harvard Women's Swimming and Diving Team, the first with a visible disability. She traveled the world on the national team for five years and set fourteen American Records. Eleven remain. Today, Beth serves on the board of AbleThrive, a world-wide nonprofit helping families thrive with a disability. She works long days as a health policy lawyer in Washington, DC, and continues to mentor and volunteer—as she has since her injury. Beth is proud to be part of the amazing disability community.

More of their adventures on the blog at: www.strugglingwithserendipity.com

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