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Deep Run grad moving toward greater things after paralyzing crash

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Kristin Beale’s daily escape takes shape in countless doodles.

“I love how it is mine,” says Kristin. “It is fun to create something that turns into something cool.”

Her cartoons are helping the Henrico woman cope; her art imitates real life for Kristin.

“I never drew myself in a wheelchair,” she says. In her new book “Greater Things,” Kristin details her difficult journey living as a paralyzed woman for nearly half of her life.

“It is terrifying and exciting because it gives me a voice. And it puts people in my shoes a little more.”

Beyonce's music helped motivate Kristin.

In August of 2005, at the age 14 Kristin was paralyzed and suffered a severe brain injury in a jet ski crash on Lake Gaston. Doctors didn’t have much hope.

“I wasn’t supposed to live. Wasn’t supposed to breathe, eat, swallow,” says Kristin.

She lost feeling and her memory, but miraculously Kristin would turn a corner.

“I can crawl. I can walk with a walker. I can move my feet, my hips and my butt,” Kristin says.

Kristin with her art.

Her will to thrive and self-described obsession with Beyonce helped diminish the dark days. Despite her disability, Kristin tackles sports with gusto. Kristin has medaled in six marathons, including the New York City Marathon and United States Marine Corps Marathon.

She and her constant sidekick pooch named “Achilles” roll through the neighborhood daily.

“I’ve tried a lot of adaptive sports but hand cycling is definitely my favorite,” says Kristin.

Kristin’s ultimate finish line is a full recovery.

“My lack of doubt that I’m going to walk one day,” she says. “My dream of dancing with my father at my wedding it is what motivates me.”

And with Kristin’s motivation to move in high gear, the finish line for this author, artist and athlete is getting closer with each passing day.

“Whether it’s me doing it or science. I’m going to get there definitely. No doubt.”

Kristin will be holding a book signing and event at Strangeways Brewery on June 29, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. A portion of the sales will be donated to Sportable, a non-profit that helps disabled athletes excel.

Kristin is already thinking about authoring a second book – a collection of all of her cartoons detailing amusing events in her life.

If you know of someone I should feature in my “Heroes Among Us” segment email me.