MEET DANA LIESEGANG
As a child growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Dana Liesegang ran for the sheer joy of it. She climbed tress, caught frogs and held her own with any boy in town. Fresh out of high school, she brought her true grit, fire-in-her-belly attitude to the U.S. Navy.
Then, in one night, everything changed. She was sexually assaulted and thrown off a cliff, left for dead. She survived—but woke up in a hospital hours later paralyzed from the neck down, with doctors giving no hope for recovery.
That’s the beginning of Dana’s story. The doctors hadn’t realized the spirit and stubbornness of their 19-year-old patient. In her book Falling Up: My Wild Ride from Victim to Kick-Ass Victory, Dana recounts her agonizing and sometimes comical struggle from total dependence to doing the impossible: walking again.
And, what to many people would be even more impossible, Dana forgave the man who attacked her and walked away without looking back. The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance recognized her in 2014 with its Hero of Forgiveness Award.
Today Dana lives independently in Grand Junction, Colorado, where she can participate in many outdoor activities, including biking, rafting and cross-country skiing.
She recently completed her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts at Colorado Mesa University and gives motivational speeches to fellow veterans and others. Current projects include making an audio recording of Falling Up and completing her certification in Pro Dog training through Absolute Dogs.