Nearly five years after being seriously injured in a shooting outside a Tucson grocery store, former Rep. Gabrielle (“Gabby”) Giffords continues to push herself. At the 2012 ASHA Annual Convention, Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, were recognized with the Annie Glenn Award for their work addressing—and raising awareness of—Giffords’ aphasia following traumatic brain injury. (Speech-language pathologists have been significantly involved in her treatment.) After Annie and John Glenn presented the couple with the “Annie,” Giffords made her first public speech since her injury the year before.
More recently—just a few days ago, in fact—Giffords completed a 40-mile bike race. The LA Times reported that she finished this year’s El Tour de Tucson in a little more than four hours. Giffords, who still can’t move most of her right side, rides a retrofitted recumbent bike. She trained for a year to finish the entire race, which the city dedicated to her and Kelly.
While Giffords continues to work hard on her own recovery, she and Kelly also speak publicly about aphasia and inspire other people facing similarly long rehabilitations.
“Mark and I are so excited to be back riding in the El Tour again, and to join with so many of our fellow Tucsonans and with people from around the world for a ride around our community,” Giffords says in a statement to the Associated Press. “I want everyone recovering from an injury or setback to know that determination and a little grit can take you a long, long way, and help you achieve things you might have thought were impossible.”
Read more on Giffords’ aphasia rehab and her 2012 Annie Glenn Award.