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Cindy narrates their intertwined stories: a shy but determined teenager fighting the harsh physical challenges of quadriplegia and a heartsick mom battling guilt, pain, and depression. In the pool for physical therapy, Beth gradually learns how to float. Not a swimmer before the accident, she finds freedom in the water at a time when every movement on land is grueling. She decides to master the forward freestyle stroke with hands that don’t work, weak arms, and useless legs. She also sets her sights on independence, against all odds.
High school swim meets and Paralympic competitions across the country precede the invitation to join the varsity Harvard Women's Swimming and Diving team as the first with a visible disability. Her daughter’s freshman year of college, Cindy lives off campus near Harvard for transition support, far away from their small Ohio hometown.
Extraordinary events domino as Beth’s confidence blooms, from Ohio to Seattle, Harvard, Stanford Law, Capitol Hill, China, and around the world. A whirlwind narrative leads up to the end of an era that transforms them both in unexpected ways.
In the past twelve months, Cindy has published 38 articles in a variety of media (listed on her Press and News web page), gained 10K Twitter followers, and created a new website with a weekly blog. A lifelong disability advocate—even before Beth’s injury— Cindy ran a nonprofit, managed group homes, and taught literacy to adults with disabilities. Beth works long days as a health policy lawyer at her office in Washington, DC, on K Street. She lives independently with no assistant, a rare feat for those with quadriplegia. Beth and Cindy actively mentor and volunteer, grateful for opportunities to give back to the amazing disability community.