Victoria Arlen Says Paralysis Could Have Been Prevented

Victoria Arlen, Victoria Arlen Dancing With The Stars, Victoria Arlen DWTS, Victoria's Victory Foundation

ABC/Eric McCandless

Victoria Arlen is numb from the waist down, but that doesn’t stop her from competing on Dancing With the Stars alongside pro dancer Val Chmerkovskiy. In 2006, when Arlen was just 11 years old, she started suffering from two rare diseases – Transverse Myelitis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, which were autoimmune disorders, according to People. These illnesses caused swelling in her brain and spinal cord and with these, Arlen lost the ability to walk, eat, talk and do anything that involved movement. On her professional website, her bio talks about her story. Arlen’s bio reads that, “She slipped into a vegetative state in which doctors had written her off as a lost cause. Victoria spent nearly four years “locked” inside her own body completely aware of what was going on just unable to move or communicate. Doctors believed there was little hope of survival and recovery was unlikely. Victoria, however was not ready to give up. In 2010, after almost four years, she began the nearly impossible fight back to life. Learning how to speak, eat and move all over again. Although she faced the devastating reality of paralysis from the waist down due to damage to her spine. She went on to exceedingly defy the odds and not only recovered but has since become an accomplished Motivational Speaker, Actress, Model, and Swimmer.”

Arlen discussed her story with ESPN in a lengthy essay about her journey through paralysis. In it, she wrote, “My back and side ached, so doctors took out my appendix. Then my legs began giving out. My foot dragged. Within two weeks, I lost all feeling and function in my legs. Next, my hands stopped working. I couldn’t control my arms, couldn’t swallow properly or find the right words when I wanted to speak. It was as if someone was slowly shutting down the switches on the circuit board that controlled my body and brain. I was slowly slipping away from my family. Then everything went dark. Two years later, I woke up inside a body that could not move. I was locked in. I could hear the conversations going on around me, but I had no way of alerting anyone that I was aware they were there.” Arlen also dropped this bombshell, saying, “I’ve since learned that, had my doctors diagnosed me correctly in 2006, a steroid injection could have prevented all of this.”

Recently, Arlen created a new nonprofit called Victoria’s Victory Foundation and the official statement by the company describes it’s mission as this, “The Victoria’s Victory Foundation is an organization founded on the desire to help others rise above challenges and achieve their own victories. The VVF wants to provide people with access to the support they need to help them overcome obstacles and find their wings to achieve and surpass their goals. The VVF encourages people to live a victorious lifestyle. The changes that happen, the victory that is achieved, happens through hard work, consistency and lifestyle commitments. The VVF wants to be a part of the journey for those looking to live a victorious lifestyle because we believe when we all come together to offer support, amazing things can happen.”

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