Paralympic Gold Medalist Rejected By Insurance Starts Own Campaign Toward Mobility

Mallory Weggemann

When you mention the word “healthcare” in a country like America, everyone has an opinion, and inevitably, a story. 24 year old Mallory Weggemann‘s story is that of extreme sorrow, and triumph from a seemingly hopeless situation.

On January 21st, 2008, just days away from her 19th birthday, Mallory went to a local medical clinic to receive an epidural injection for back pain, and instead of walking out a few hours later, she never walked again! She was instead admitted to hospital, as she became paralyzed from the belly button down.

“Everything that I knew for 18 years of my life changed in literally the blink of an eye,” she says in a heartfelt video.

Mallory is classed as a T10 complete paraplegic, meaning she will never walk again naturally, but she learned that with the help of leg braces and arm crutches, she will be able to mimic the motions to help her walk upright again, without the aid of a wheelchair to which she is currently bound.

She is a brave young girl, who is determined to beat the odds and redefine the word ‘mobility’. Since becoming a paraplegic, she has dreamed of walking again, and helping others along the way.

“I have had people tell me…that I will never walk again, but they are wrong. This is our chance to give other individuals the hope that they too can walk someday.  This is our chance to leave an impact, to make a difference and to change the world.”

Over the past 5 years, she has certainly not kept quiet about her dream. Being a competitive swimmer since the age of 7, she thought she would never be able to swim again. But one of the first things she did upon leaving hospital in 2008 was get back in the pool. Cut to September 2nd, 2012, and Mallory Weggemann won a gold medal at the London Olympics for the Women’s 50m Freestyle (among a handful of medals won)! I wonder what all those naysayers and doctors think of her now.

Mallory Weggemann London Olympics

But her story isn’t over, because there is still a long way to go for her and many other paraplegics hoping to walk again. And there’s a catch: her health insurance won’t cover any costs for her arm and leg braces. I guess they don’t really care about an individuals’ overall health do they? It’s more a money business. Well no bother, because not even a bureaucratic system will stop Mallory from becoming a role model and unofficial spokesperson for paraplegics everywhere with a dream.

She has started raising money through a campaign on crowd-funding website IndieGoGo and hopes to raise $5o,ooo by October 1st to be able to go to the rehabilitation clinic in Detroit, Michigan. There is still time to donate and spread the news of her story. She plans to help others whose insurance won’t help them get mobilized.

We can clearly see the makings of not only an inspiration, but a future leader in the philanthropic and healthcare world. Perhaps she will one day raise enough funds and awareness to start her own organization, showing others hearing “no” from doctors, insurance companies and society does NOT mean you are beyond hope.

There no doubt in our minds we will be seeing a lot more from this inspirational young woman who is using an unfortunate situation, and using it as a reason to empower others, and allow her beautiful yet determined spirit to shine through.


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