When thieves attacked Arunima Sinha, one of India’s volleyball champions, in April 2011 she fought back. No one on the crowded train stepped forward to help her so they threw her out of the train. An oncoming train ran over her leg, crushing it below the knee.
As she described it in her INK Talk, she lay on the railroad bed, screaming for help, determined to live. Hours later villagers took her to the district hospital. No blood or anesthesia was available, but the gritty young woman insisted they amputate the crushed limb. Impressed by her courage, both the doctor and the pharmacist donated blood for her. Without pain killers, they removed the crushed limb.
She told police about the assault. Instead of believing her and going after the criminals, they accused her of attempting suicide or trying to avoid paying the fare. Once again she fought back, this time against the police. The high court believed her and ordered Indian Railways to pay her a settlement.
The Sports Ministry came to her aid while she was in the village hospital. She was transferred from Lucknow to the AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi.
Lying in her hospital bed, with no assurance she would ever walk again, she made a decision. Not only would she walk, she would climb Mount Everest. Most people were skeptical, but her family believed in her and took her to meet Bachendri Pal, the first Indian Woman to climb that peak. Pal encouraged her to go after her dream.
With an artificial limb and a determined heart, Arunima Sinha began training at Pal’s adventure foundation. After a year’s arduous training, she began a climb that took 52 days and steely will. On May 21, 2013, she stood on the 29,000 foot summit of Mount Everest.
But she was not done. Since then she has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus. She has set her sights on four more peaks and plans to become the first Indian amputee to climb all seven.
She believed she could do it. She prepared herself. She did it.
And so can we all.
You can follow Arunima Sinha on Facebook and Twitter and read her book, Born Again on the Mountain: How I Lost Everything and Found It Back