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Alisha Waters

Florence, KY

Entry Photo for Alisha Waters - Florence, KY

I was 47 when I fully understood what a hero was.
My niece, Alisha Waters, was gunned down by her estranged husband as she walked into work. He shot her five times severing her spinal cord then committed suicide.
He died instantly, and she became a quadriplegic.
A couple of days later, when she awoke in the hospital, she had two things on her mind. One was to help other women and men caught in the cycle of domestic violence. So her family started a petition to amend the Kentucky Domestic Violence law to include cyberstalking (email, text, and voicemail). She had received over 186 threatening texts in the last 2 weeks before her attempted murder, but was denied a restraining order. She has been out front on this issue, speaking in many interviews and gathering support through social media. The second thing on her mind was a vow she made to herself and her family.
She would walk again.
She began with great effort to move her right thumb, then she began to move her arm from side to side by manipulating her shoulder. It was painful, but she never complained. She got to the point where she could scratch her nose by moving her arm at the elbow. She regained feeling in her right leg and could move the toes on her right foot.
She is now at home continuously working on her exercises to gain more movement. Her tracheotomy has been closed and she can speak as well as you or I.
She became my hero because of her fearless devotion to these two causes. Her attitude is so positive it’s infective. When one is around her, it takes a moment to realize she’s actually a quadriplegic. She considers herself more than a survivor. Her phrase “I won” has become her rallying cry. She makes me and others around her want to be better people. What started as a ripple, has become a wave of encouragement to and from others. She has a Facebook page with over 1,000 supporters.
What makes a hero is a willingness to walk into a dark unsettling place and focus on the tasks needed to fill that space with light. She does this every day. Her focus is spot on and without a doubt her words are correct.
She won – Edwin Scudder